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Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Linear Vs. Threaded Formats

[ Edited ]
I am reading in linear format. Recently I came across a post where I wanted to go back to the initial post that the post I was reading was replying to, but had much trouble finding it. There were ten pages of posts, and I had to go back to page 2 to find the the original post. With some discussions going well past ten pages of posts, this will become an increasingly difficult challenge.

Two questions arise. First, I didn't find any search procedure where I could search the thread for text from within the original post. Am I overlooking a search option that is there but I'm too dumb to find, or does it not exist within a thread?

Second, I did try switching to threaded order, but that wasn't particularly helpful because the posts are still in the basic linear format, just reordered. The "true" threaded format (showing the thread structure with one-liners for the posts) would have been more helpful here, but I didn't find a way to switch on the fly, as it were, to true threaded format; it looks as though I would have to have gone back to my preferences page and changed my reading format to threaded. Is there a way that I'm not finding to switch easily between linear and "true" threaded format while one is reading a thread?

Message Edited by BillP on 01-09-2007 03:24 PM

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BillP
Posts: 405
Registered: ‎09-25-2006
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Re: Two questions

Everyman,

There is not a way to search that specifically, but the Advanced Search does allow you to refine the results to a specific board and author. You can also use Control-F (on Windows, not sure what it is on Macs) to search the text within a webpage. You'd still have to page-through stuff, but using Control-F should speed things up at least.

And there is no "on-the-fly" way to switch back and forth between Linear and Threaded, unfortunately. Some of your suggestions are on our Wish List for improvements, but we're making no promises to when or if.

In general, though, quoting posts when replying is generally the best way to make it easy for everyone to follow along with discussion threads, which you use already I know.

-BillP



Everyman wrote:
I am reading in linear format. Recently I came across a post where I wanted to go back to the initial post that the post I was reading was replying to, but had much trouble finding it. There were ten pages of posts, and I had to go back to page 2 to find the the original post. With some discussions going well past ten pages of posts, this will become an increasingly difficult challenge.

Two questions arise. First, I didn't find any search procedure where I could search the thread for text from within the original post. Am I overlooking a search option that is there but I'm too dumb to find, or does it not exist within a thread?

Second, I did try switching to threaded order, but that wasn't particularly helpful because the posts are still in the basic linear format, just reordered. The "true" threaded format (showing the thread structure with one-liners for the posts) would have been more helpful here, but I didn't find a way to switch on the fly, as it were, to true threaded format; it looks as though I would have to have gone back to my preferences page and changed my reading format to threaded. Is there a way that I'm not finding to switch easily between linear and "true" threaded format while one is reading a thread?


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leakybucket
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Re: Two questions

Second, I did try switching to threaded order, but that wasn't particularly helpful because the posts are still in the basic linear format, just reordered. The "true" threaded format (showing the thread structure with one-liners for the posts) would have been more helpful here, but I didn't find a way to switch on the fly, as it were, to true threaded format; it looks as though I would have to have gone back to my preferences page and changed my reading format to threaded. Is there a way that I'm not finding to switch easily between linear and "true" threaded format while one is reading a thread?

-------------------------------------

I understand your problem because I use both. In a long list that I've been through I usually use the linear format so I can find it without paging through all the threaded stuff. Then I find it but it is hard to know the development of the discussion in the liner or often what the original question being answered is (people still don't always quote) so you want to switch back to the subject threaded format and you can't do that. You can swap back and forth between the two from the front page of the discussion group so you can theoretically return there and make the switch and then go back in threaded form. Unfortunately, at that point your former "unread" messages (and I might add for the entire thread) are marked as read so you can't find message you were looking at anymore. I sometimes solve the problem by using the back arrow to back up and leave my messages unread, but now I have to page through pages of the thread to find the message again. It is awkward and time-consuming.

I think that is what bookmarks can be used for but I gave up trying to use those long ago because my "authorization" or something to that effect failed.

I might add that I wouldn't mind the option of marking threads at least within "folder" levels read (or unread). There are some threads I might decide to bypass especially things like "introductions" especially when I come late into a group. I might also want to mark one particular thread as unread because I am interesting in reading through it but haven't time to do it all at one sitting. Of course I can only control true unread from read as I go through them when I am in threaded mode.

This is one of the major problems of playing catch-up in a group. In order to systematically go through all the messages in a thread I want to read I may have to commit several hours to the task and do it all in one sitting. There is no easy way to go through part of the thread and come back later picking up where I left off. The present system allowed by this board is only practical if you have been studious about keeping up with discussions from the beginning. People who have been following the groups are totally unaware of the problem because they have it under control, volume has been pretty low so far, and they check in frequently enough.
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Re: Two questions

Dunno if I agree leaky with your conclusion at the end. At the moment I am plugged in regularly but I find it difficult to follow the discussion anyhow. That inspite of i.e.in Moby Dick where Bob did his best to structure and separate the threads and follows up activelydependign on how the discussion goes.

It's worse when a moderator isn't prone to pay attention to that.

I use mostly the threaded view and I gave up on switching into the linear mode because I can't do it from within the thread where I am and I have to start all over again from th main page.I miss the possibility to collapse threads that would reduce the volume and allow me to concentrate on those questions /sections I choose and where I am active.

In the threaded instead I need to scroll yards of old messages that are already unintresting, moreover, after posting I loose the page numbers and I have to go back and start all over again. If I could reshuffle the topics within a thread it would also make it easier to handle.

It wouldn't be enough for me to do this just with help of marking messages as read. That function for me is limited to what it indicates= if I read it or not.

In one sentence: it is difficult to keep track when the boards get more voluminous. This I think also keeps people away from being active. You really weigh in what to say and what not but for the feeling of community it is important to allow the small comments now and then. Otherwise it gets too sterile, impersonal, like you have to prepare a PhD essay to post each time. If that becomes a norm it discourages other people from posting their simple yet alive observations or thoughts. It's a difficult balance.

I mark the threads with information I find important and want to come back to quickly. That works as an extra folder so to speak. I also float up some topics above the green line and that alows me one shortcut when returning to the board. Other than that I didn't find any tricks to make my life easier.

ziki
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leakybucket
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Re: Two questions

Ziki Said:
In one sentence: it is difficult to keep track when the boards get more voluminous. This I think also keeps people away from being active. You really weigh in what to say and what not but for the feeling of community it is important to allow the small comments now and then. Otherwise it gets too sterile, impersonal, like you have to prepare a PhD essay to post each time. If that becomes a norm it discourages other people from posting their simple yet alive observations or thoughts. It's a difficult balance.

------------------------------------------------

You are right, Ziki, I did oversimplify the situation with frequent posters. It is difficult no matter what you do when the group has a lot of messages. I usually bail out of a group when it gets several hundred messages posted. It just takes too long, especially if you go in threaded (which I prefer). I also drop out when the organization starts to fall apart. I just don't have your fortitude for sticking out some of the groups.
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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
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Re: Two questions

Your post is one good example of why I wish they had said that one oftheir priorities was to get an "all messages / unread messages" option in the Book Clubs as we had at BNU. That single feature would make these boards MUCH MUUCH MUCH MUCH easier to navigate. But so far, it's not clear that they've made adding his feature a priority, or how difficult it would be to program it into their system.



ziki wrote:
Dunno if I agree leaky with your conclusion at the end. At the moment I am plugged in regularly but I find it difficult to follow the discussion anyhow. That inspite of i.e.in Moby Dick where Bob did his best to structure and separate the threads and follows up activelydependign on how the discussion goes.

It's worse when a moderator isn't prone to pay attention to that.

I use mostly the threaded view and I gave up on switching into the linear mode because I can't do it from within the thread where I am and I have to start all over again from th main page.I miss the possibility to collapse threads that would reduce the volume and allow me to concentrate on those questions /sections I choose and where I am active.

In the threaded instead I need to scroll yards of old messages that are already unintresting, moreover, after posting I loose the page numbers and I have to go back and start all over again. If I could reshuffle the topics within a thread it would also make it easier to handle.

It wouldn't be enough for me to do this just with help of marking messages as read. That function for me is limited to what it indicates= if I read it or not.

In one sentence: it is difficult to keep track when the boards get more voluminous. This I think also keeps people away from being active. You really weigh in what to say and what not but for the feeling of community it is important to allow the small comments now and then. Otherwise it gets too sterile, impersonal, like you have to prepare a PhD essay to post each time. If that becomes a norm it discourages other people from posting their simple yet alive observations or thoughts. It's a difficult balance.

I mark the threads with information I find important and want to come back to quickly. That works as an extra folder so to speak. I also float up some topics above the green line and that alows me one shortcut when returning to the board. Other than that I didn't find any tricks to make my life easier.

ziki

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I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Choisya
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Re: Marking posts read/unread.

I agree that the read/unread was a very useful feature on BNU and is one which deserves priority here.


Ziki: I find that marking threads up for Emails in my Profile alerts me to all those threads/posts I wish to respond to and marking threads Newest to Oldest means that I can also often get emails alerting me to your posts in the middle of my British afternoon - which coast of the US are you on?




Everyman wrote:
Your post is one good example of why I wish they had said that one oftheir priorities was to get an "all messages / unread messages" option in the Book Clubs as we had at BNU. That single feature would make these boards MUCH MUUCH MUCH MUCH easier to navigate. But so far, it's not clear that they've made adding his feature a priority, or how difficult it would be to program it into their system.



ziki wrote:
Dunno if I agree leaky with your conclusion at the end. At the moment I am plugged in regularly but I find it difficult to follow the discussion anyhow. That inspite of i.e.in Moby Dick where Bob did his best to structure and separate the threads and follows up activelydependign on how the discussion goes.

It's worse when a moderator isn't prone to pay attention to that.

I use mostly the threaded view and I gave up on switching into the linear mode because I can't do it from within the thread where I am and I have to start all over again from th main page.I miss the possibility to collapse threads that would reduce the volume and allow me to concentrate on those questions /sections I choose and where I am active.

In the threaded instead I need to scroll yards of old messages that are already unintresting, moreover, after posting I loose the page numbers and I have to go back and start all over again. If I could reshuffle the topics within a thread it would also make it easier to handle.

It wouldn't be enough for me to do this just with help of marking messages as read. That function for me is limited to what it indicates= if I read it or not.

In one sentence: it is difficult to keep track when the boards get more voluminous. This I think also keeps people away from being active. You really weigh in what to say and what not but for the feeling of community it is important to allow the small comments now and then. Otherwise it gets too sterile, impersonal, like you have to prepare a PhD essay to post each time. If that becomes a norm it discourages other people from posting their simple yet alive observations or thoughts. It's a difficult balance.

I mark the threads with information I find important and want to come back to quickly. That works as an extra folder so to speak. I also float up some topics above the green line and that alows me one shortcut when returning to the board. Other than that I didn't find any tricks to make my life easier.

ziki




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Re: Two questions

[ Edited ]

Everyman wrote:
Your post is one good example of why I wish they had said that one oftheir priorities was to get an "all messages / unread messages" option in the Book Clubs as we had at BNU. That single feature would make these boards MUCH MUUCH MUCH MUCH easier to navigate. But so far, it's not clear that they've made adding his feature a priority, or how difficult it would be to program it into their system.




I never used the unread messages mode on the old BNU because I experienced a bit of a same problem as here in the linear mode: It was difficult to see what original messages were answered and how the discussion hang together.

The collapsing function was a remedy when the messages got too many in the read messages mode.
However, one good thing to mention with these boards is that it loads rather quickly, that wasn't always the case with BNU (but the collapsing of certain topics speeded it up). It's hard to judge because it may depend also on the computer and browser, IT provider etc. (=the personal equipment).

When the posts get too numerous (we didn't really have that problem here yet, but the tendency is obvious even now) then you want to have a choice of going into certain rooms. It's like a party in a big house. You want to be able to go where you want and to listen, possibly talk to whom you choose. That mechanism to move around (also in the room) should be easy enough.

I also doubled the number of message shown (so I can scroll) and that reduced the total number of pages; I'll see how that works and then I am not sure if I checked it right now....that the whole thread with a new message moves up first. I think I had that but it was lost. OK, I keep experimenting but I do not see I can influence so much after all.

The good thing is the printer friendly option if you want to print out stuff but I didn't use it myself yet.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 01-05-200704:35 AM

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BillP
Posts: 405
Registered: ‎09-25-2006
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Re: Threaded Vs. Linear Formats

Everyman,

I changed the name of this thread (which is why it says I edited your initial message) so it is a little more informative for people browsing the Help boards. We'll leave this thread open for all Linear Vs. Threaded questions.

Thanks,

Bill