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Old 2012-02-12, 22:59   Link #1
Ledgem
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Quote Notifications

One of the most frustrating things about trying to engage someone in a discussion is when they either don't return to the thread, or they return and overlook your post. Even those of us who utilize thread subscriptions and rely heavily on the control panel for keeping up with thread conversations are not immune to these problems.

Another forum (also running vBulletin 3.8.6) that I occasionally utilize implemented a weird feature some months ago that I think may be useful for that purpose: quote notifications. The way that it works is that when someone quotes any part of a post that you made, you receive a notification about it. The notification isn't a pop-up notification, but it appears in a similar manner as when you receive a new visitor message.

Here's an example of the quote pane:



I think it would help to draw people back to the discussions. It's a more direct way of notifying someone that "hey, I'm talking to you."

Granted, I would imagine that it could become really annoying for people who engage in a ton of conversations and already do well enough by keeping up with their thread subscriptions. That would just result in extraneous and constant notifications for those users. So, as one might expect, there's an option for a user to disable this feature:



Truthfully, I'd probably disable the feature on this forum, as I think that I keep up well enough with my subscriptions. I do find the thought of directly engaging people by quoting them to be appealing, though.

What do you all think?
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Old 2012-02-13, 03:47   Link #2
monster
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I think the value of such a feature would be in a (possibly popular) thread that a person doesn't visit that often. Since they don't visit that thread often, they probably won't subscribe to it, so a quote notification would notify them if someone actually made a reply to one of their posts in that thread.

So I think, if possible, it should be a per-thread feature rather than a per-member feature.
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Old 2012-02-21, 05:47   Link #3
GHDpro
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While it sounds like a neat idea, there is the problem of those people replying to posts yet don't do so using quoting (which er, in a way I'm doing right now).

One thing you can do however is to go into the User CP / Options and change the "Default Thread Subscription Mode" with which you can automatically subscribe to any thread you reply to. But I presume you're already using that.
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Old 2012-02-21, 06:22   Link #4
monster
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I think the idea is good for those threads that:

1. You don't really keep track, and
2. You don't want to be notified of all replies (which is what I think thread subscription does, correct me if I'm wrong).

Sure, you don't get notified if the quote tag is not fully used, but it's still better than not having any notification at all if you don't want to subscribe to a thread or keep track of a thread manually.
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Old 2012-02-21, 10:35   Link #5
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GHDpro View Post
While it sounds like a neat idea, there is the problem of those people replying to posts yet don't do so using quoting (which er, in a way I'm doing right now).

One thing you can do however is to go into the User CP / Options and change the "Default Thread Subscription Mode" with which you can automatically subscribe to any thread you reply to. But I presume you're already using that.
Indeed, I auto-subscribe to all threads and navigate the forums heavily through the user control panel. I know that many other users do this, as well. But there are some, particularly the newer users, who don't seem to be aware of this functionality.

It's true that not everyone quotes properly. I suspect that there will always be people who don't. Having a notification system tied to the use of quotes will probably cause some of those people to quote properly. Still, it seems to me that more people use quotes properly than not. If only a minority of forum users were quoting properly then I would say that it's probably not worth the effort to implement a system like this, but since it's the minority that seems to be quoting informally, I think it would be worth the effort. Unless, of course, it's a really, really huge deal to implement it.
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Old 2012-02-21, 11:13   Link #6
relentlessflame
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
If only a minority of forum users were quoting properly then I would say that it's probably not worth the effort to implement a system like this, but since it's the minority that seems to be quoting informally, I think it would be worth the effort. Unless, of course, it's a really, really huge deal to implement it.
Given that we're one version behind on vBulletin and considering performing the upgrade at some point soon, I think it isn't a good time to add any new plug-ins or functionality that may end up breaking when the update occurs, particularly when there doesn't seem to be a huge need/interest in such a thing.

In general, the idea is interesting, but it feels like more noise. We already have thread subscriptions which basically serve this purpose, but this is like "for times when you don't care about subscribing to the entire conversation, but still want to be notified when someone mentions you in particular..." It's a bit OCD, I think.
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Old 2012-02-21, 18:34   Link #7
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
In general, the idea is interesting, but it feels like more noise. We already have thread subscriptions which basically serve this purpose, but this is like "for times when you don't care about subscribing to the entire conversation, but still want to be notified when someone mentions you in particular..." It's a bit OCD, I think.
I see it a bit differently. This is a potential way to foster discussion, and guard against people who write a random comment and then never revisit a thread (even if people replied to their post).

Consider this: the current forum default for thread subscriptions is no subscriptions. Even if you changed it so that people were auto-subscribed, there are a number of forum users who don't use the control panel for subscription navigation. For some people it's because they're unaware of the functionality; for others, they simply don't care to.

On the other hand, if you enable the quote notification by default, you get the non-intrusive yet noticeable notification that you've been quoted. People who know what they're doing and dislike it can disable it. I'd wager that most users, particularly new users, will accept it and make use of it. It draws them back to the topic, and gets them to re-engage in the conversation.
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Old 2012-02-21, 21:02   Link #8
relentlessflame
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
It draws them back to the topic, and gets them to re-engage in the conversation.
That's an interesting theory, but I don't think that's all it promotes. It also seems to promote a mentality that focuses on when you're the focus of the conversation rather than following the conversation on the whole (the entire exchange). I think thread subscriptions are superior in this regard because they take you to where you left off, and you can follow the chain of the conversation rather than just being drawn back because "OMG somebody quoted me! I'd better see what they're saying about me!" (See also spam: "153 million local singles are talking about you! Sign up today to see what they're saying!") If anything, I don't think this should be a default option enabled for all users, nor a global option enabled for all posts. I can see some limited usefulness on a case-by-case basis (for example, in an FAQ thread if you ask a tricky question and want to know when someone provides an answer to your question), but again I'm not sure that the benefit outweighs the potential mixed message it sends, particularly as a sort of global option.

In short, I think this is a minor nuisance that tries to "trick" people into coming back by appealing to their vanity. That isn't to say it's an invalid approach, as proven by Social Networks like Twitter (and, as I alluded to, countless spam E-mails ), and in may indeed get people to come back to the threads... but I'm not sure that it will improve the quality of the engagement and resulting conversation.
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Old 2012-02-21, 22:14   Link #9
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
It also seems to promote a mentality that focuses on when you're the focus of the conversation rather than following the conversation on the whole (the entire exchange).
I don't really agree with that... if people want to be the focus of the conversation then it's a cultural or age-related thing. I don't think that having a notification that someone quoted a post of yours would cause that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I think thread subscriptions are superior in this regard because they take you to where you left off, and you can follow the chain of the conversation rather than just being drawn back because "OMG somebody quoted me! I'd better see what they're saying about me!"
You've set this up to be a false dichotomy I'm not suggesting that quote notifications take the place of thread notifications. The forum that I drew on as an example and took screenshots from has both systems in place. Nobody is obligated to use the subscriptions or control panel; nobody is obligated to keep the quote notifications enabled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I can see some limited usefulness on a case-by-case basis (for example, in an FAQ thread if you ask a tricky question and want to know when someone provides an answer to your question), but again I'm not sure that the benefit outweighs the potential mixed message it sends, particularly as a sort of global option.
What's the mixed message?

Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
In short, I think this is a minor nuisance that tries to "trick" people into coming back by appealing to their vanity.
There's no trick about it, and I don't see how it's an appeal to vanity. When users quote other users, it's usually because they're responding directly to what was said. If this were an instant message, it would be a one-to-one conversation and the program would notify the other party that they had a message waiting. Because these are forums, the message is put out into public, and many people engage in the discussion at once, responding to one another. Yet, there is never a notification sent that a post was responded to directly.

If I told you that as I read through threads, I keep an eye out for quotes of posts that I've made, would you call me vain? My motivation for doing so is not vanity, but discussion. If someone replies to a point that I've made, I'd like to extend the conversation further. Similarly, when I quote someone, I usually desire that they will reply to me to clarify earlier comments, expand on what they were saying, or modify their original points. It's all about discussion and engagement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
and in may indeed get people to come back to the threads... but I'm not sure that it will improve the quality of the engagement and resulting conversation.
Well, let me put it to you this way: it would be better than having people dump a comment and never return to the thread Comment dump threads have zero engagement and zero conversation (or should I say, zero meaningful conversation - there is no back-and-forth). Things can only improve for those threads.
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Old 2012-02-21, 22:54   Link #10
relentlessflame
 
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I really don't think it's a case of "anything we can do would be better than nothing", because that implies the problem is so obvious that the need for a solution (and this particular solution) outweighs the cost/effort to implement, the confusion that results from any implemented change, and whatever unintended consequences the change might have. The best I can say is "that's interesting", and that I can see the benefit on a case-by-case basis, but I'm not really in favour of a universal opt-in approach, nor a global on/off toggle, and I don't think now is the time to be adding new plug-ins... so this post is basically me breaking quote notifications, leaving a comment, and not intending to return to the thread.
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Old 2012-02-21, 22:56   Link #11
Dr. Casey
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Another thing you can do in the meantime until (If) this gets passed is do occasional searches for your username, clicking the drop down arrow next to 'Search' at the top of the page. Names used in quote boxes are included in the forum search, so those posts will be caught even if the person never addresses you by name in the message itself.
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Old 2012-02-21, 23:19   Link #12
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I really don't think it's a case of "anything we can do would be better than nothing", because that implies the problem is so obvious that the need for a solution (and this particular solution) outweighs the cost/effort to implement, the confusion that results from any implemented change, and whatever unintended consequences the change might have.
What confusion? What unintended consequences? I admit, I'm a bit frustrated with your bringing those points up; this is the second time you've mentioned concern about user confusion to proposed forum changes. I'm not going to say that everyone using AnimeSuki is a genius, but I'm fairly certain that the majority of users would not experience any "confusion" or behavior alterations over the inclusion of the feature. I have not noticed any such changes over at the other forum that implemented it a few months to a year ago, and that's a true-to-life case study of this feature.

If you don't see a use for the feature, or don't feel that it's necessary, then what can I say... clearly I disagree with you, I think it would be of benefit to the forum, and I can't do much more than that. It's non-intrusive, users can opt out, and you can probably even make it disabled by default (although you might as well not implement it at all, if that's your intent). I don't see how it harms the forum, and doesn't the forum exist to encourage discussion? How can a feature encouraging engagement be harmful? If it would take a ton of work to implement then I'd understand, but on the merits of the feature itself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Casey View Post
Another thing you can do in the meantime until (If) this gets passed is do occasional searches for your username, clicking the drop down arrow next to 'Search' at the top of the page. Names used in quote boxes are included in the forum search, so those posts will be caught even if the person never addresses you by name in the message itself.
Thank you for the suggestion, but I'm not requesting this feature because of difficulty in finding when someone replies to me. I follow thread subscriptions and am perfectly capable of seeing when someone quotes a post of mine. However, I've made replies in a number of threads where people either never bothered to return to the thread, or they just skip to the last page and miss my reply as a result. If they received notification that I had quoted a post of theirs, perhaps they would either return to the thread or not overlook my reply, and there would be an actual discussion.

------
Just to check, I'm not alone in feeling that threads where people just comment without responding to anyone aren't real discussions, right? I mean, if you want to talk about Twitter and one-way social network status updates, that's what those types of posts and threads seem like to me. I get that some threads are just like that, and users enjoy them, but I don't like it when they become numerous. I feel like that inspires users to just dump comments and never return, and has the potential to alter the culture of the forum. There's no discussion to those threads. It may be inevitable that a forum with a lot of users will lead to more of those types of threads... but if that's the case, why not implement these tools that can help to guard against lack of involvement?
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Last edited by Ledgem; 2012-02-22 at 01:42. Reason: Clarity
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Old 2012-02-26, 00:48   Link #13
Dr. Casey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Thank you for the suggestion, but I'm not requesting this feature because of difficulty in finding when someone replies to me. I follow thread subscriptions and am perfectly capable of seeing when someone quotes a post of mine. However, I've made replies in a number of threads where people either never bothered to return to the thread, or they just skip to the last page and miss my reply as a result. If they received notification that I had quoted a post of theirs, perhaps they would either return to the thread or not overlook my reply, and there would be an actual discussion.
whoops I misread the first post, sorry for being retarded

so how's this change coming along
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Old 2012-02-26, 17:27   Link #14
DragoZERO
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I will admit, it would be nice to know when you are quoted, especially when you make a post and there are ten new pages when you return the next day.
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Old 2012-02-26, 23:39   Link #15
Triple_R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DragoZERO View Post
I will admit, it would be nice to know when you are quoted, especially when you make a post and there are ten new pages when you return the next day.
I was neutral on this before, but after navigating through recent Guilty Crown and Nisemonogatari episode threads I'm starting to warm up more to Ledgem's idea. With longer, and quickly growing/active threads, I definitely can see how Quote Notification could help focus and simplify discussion for you.
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Old 2012-02-27, 04:26   Link #16
TheFluff
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if you're not vanity searching for your own nick at least once a day you're clearly not cut out to be an internet superstar and won't need this feature anyway
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17:43:13 <~deculture> Also, TheFluff, you are so fucking slowpoke.jpg that people think we dropped the DVD's.
17:43:16 <~deculture> nice job, fag!

01:04:41 < Plorkyeran> it was annoying to typeset so it should be annoying to read
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Old 2012-03-01, 16:58   Link #17
ChainLegacy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Just to check, I'm not alone in feeling that threads where people just comment without responding to anyone aren't real discussions, right? I mean, if you want to talk about Twitter and one-way social network status updates, that's what those types of posts and threads seem like to me. I get that some threads are just like that, and users enjoy them, but I don't like it when they become numerous. I feel like that inspires users to just dump comments and never return, and has the potential to alter the culture of the forum. There's no discussion to those threads. It may be inevitable that a forum with a lot of users will lead to more of those types of threads... but if that's the case, why not implement these tools that can help to guard against lack of involvement?
It's also a good idea for people like me who not only spend limited time but don't really spend much time on the forum per session. I log in and quickly read posts and due to this I sometimes forget where I've posted and might miss out on someone's response to me.
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