Australian (ASX) Stock Market Forum

Website design and forum functionality feedback

Joe Blow

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Looking forward, I need to have a better understanding of what people like in terms of website/forum design and functionality and what they don't.

So, with that in mind I have the following questions:

1. What elements of the current website/forum design do you like and want to see retained in any website redesign? (this can be anything from layout to colour scheme to forum organisation/structure)
2. What do you feel is lacking in the current website/forum design and what would you like to see introduced in any website redesign? (this can be anything from layout to colour scheme to forum organisation/structure)
3. What forum functionality do you use a lot and would like to see retained and/or improved?
4. What functionality or features do you feel is currently missing from ASF and would like to see added in the future?
5. What content would you like to see added to ASF? (This can be anything from indexes, forex rates, news etc.)

Your feedback will help me to plan and implement changes when the forum software is upgraded later this year. The new software will have many new features that are already baked in, but I am interested in anything specific that you would like to see changed or introduced.

If you have strong feelings about this one way or the other, please let me know in this thread. If you see feedback or suggestions by others that you either agree or disagree with please speak up and let me know. This will help me gauge how popular or unpopular certain suggestions are.

Thank you for your assistance.
 
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The search functionality could be improved. It's very hard to find old threads. That's the only thing I'd like changed.

Whenever you make a decision on something as the boss, you're going to lose some people as a result. Whatever the decision, some people won't like it. Had you cut out (or moderated) the general chat earlier, you would have kept TH, Canoz and quite a few other highly knowledgable members. This type of member is put off by certain types of chat and didn't want to be associated with an un-moderated (or losely moderated) site. Since you've explained you value* freedom of speech, you would be going against your values to moderate heavily. If you go against your values, you'll be unhappy, so regardless of whom is hurt by your decision, your values are your values... and it's your site. So make that decision and live with the consequences of losing certain highly experienced traders/commentators. Because that will happen. The most knowledgable and experienced traders will tend to be the most sensitive to harsh or robust general commentary (no judgement; that's just the way it is).

*My question would be, "is freedom of speech a personal value or an anxiety related to loss/compromise... or a bit of both?"

Alternatively, get comortable with moderating people who post material that could be percieved as hurtful to others. I've made a few hurtful posts I regret and would have been happy if you'd removed them permanantly and immediately. If you lose people who post a lot of stuff like that, again, that's what decision-making involves. All decisions involve loss/compromise. You'll survive and probably thrive as a result of being decisive.

imo.
 
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But calling it a day (stopping everything) won't please you or anyone else here - I'm fairly sure of that. Your decision will have to be a 'best fit' solution, and it won't be perfect. No business and no person is perfect. A solid, well-defined business identity will make you comfortable and give you renewed vigour, even if it doesn't seem that way now.
 

Joe Blow

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The search functionality could be improved. It's very hard to find old threads. That's the only thing I'd like changed.
Can you expand on this a little? How exactly would you like to see it improved? Can you tell me a little more about the problems you are having?

Whenever you make a decision on something as the boss, you're going to lose some people as a result. Whatever the decision, some people won't like it. Had you cut out (or moderated) the general chat earlier, you would have kept TH, Canoz and quite a few other highly knowledgable members. This type of member is put off by certain types of chat and didn't want to be associated with an un-moderated (or losely moderated) site. Since you've explained you value* freedom of speech, you would be going against your values to moderate heavily. If you go against your values, you'll be unhappy, so regardless of whom is hurt by your decision, your values are your values... and it's your site. So make that decision and live with the consequences of losing certain highly experienced traders/commentators. Because that will happen. The most knowledgable and experienced traders will tend to be the most sensitive to harsh or robust general commentary (no judgement; that's just the way it is).
I accept that moving forward I will have to exercise tighter controls over what is posted. It is easy to fall into the trap of taking the path of least resistance, especially when you do favour robust debate and discussion and value the idea of free speech. Some stuff is just too divisive and disruptive to the community generally. And it's not because I agree with it or endorse it, just that it is really hard to know where to draw the line sometimes when you don't get offended easily.

Also, after a while you start to get tired of the rage directed at you because you moderated someone. Keep in mind that people generally consider being moderated a personal affront and accuse you of bias and even hurl nasty insults. Show me someone who claims to like authority figures and I'll show you someone who doesn't when that authority is exercised against them. It's ironic but that's been my experience.
 

tech/a

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I applaud you my friend. There are a few here who really care
Fewer who want to get involved on a close level.
But Im sure in the end Joe will come out the other end
much wiser and stronger.

I do agree that Joe has not used his dictatorship as strongly
and as QUICKLY as he could have. The site would be very
different had a lot of those who have left were still active.

Joe you have to draw a line. You own it---its your line!
It doesn't have to be right for anyone.
The question Id be asking is "Is this good for my forum?"

Nurturing valuable people is more important
in my view than finding new people.
The clients you have are your core.
 
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Show me someone who claims to like authority figures and I'll show you someone who doesn't when that authority is exercised against them. It's ironic but that's been my experience.
Yes I agree, they like the authority directed in their favour. The choice that has to be made is "what type of member do you prefer?". It's clear the site won't survive catering to both types. Hard decision, but it has to be a best fit decision, otherwise the difficutlies will continue. Personally I think it will be easier on you to just cut out the general commentary, even though I enjoy reading and contributing to some of the argy-bargy. If you took every single comment I've ever made in GC, you won't find much value there - it's usually just me spouting some grievance on a slow trading day. Your decision will make or break the site, but that's better than sitting on the fence, and you'll be able to sleep at night.

The search feature isn't precise enough. I want to be able to type a phrase found in a post.
 

Joe Blow

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The search feature isn't precise enough. I want to be able to type a phrase found in a post.
A couple of quick tips:

1. If you are looking for a thread and can remember the title or part of the title, search for the keywords you can remember and click the "Search titles only" box. I use title searches about 80% of the time to find threads.
2. If you are searching for a phrase contained the text of a post, surround the phrase by quotation marks when searching. For example, don't search for global markets, search for "global markets".

Let me know if that improves things.
 
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Hope you don't mind all this advice. One last thing. Quality decisions can only be made when you're in a good frame of mind, and the tone of your posts tell me that's not the case right now. A lot of people suggested takng time off, and I reckon that's great advice. Getting yourself in a happy place will allow you to make the best decision, whatever it is. As I said, your decision will make or break the site, but that's fine. It's not a big deal really.
 
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Just reposting my layout suggestion and removing the SP data as you explained the price implications.

I think the key thing I am picking up from a few of the guys is that some are only interested in Fundamental and others TA. Separating the threads allows for people to focus on areas that they are interested. Also the announcements in particularly price sensitive should have there own threads.

:2twocents
upload_2019-8-22_8-26-24.png
 

Joe Blow

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Hope you don't mind all this advice.
Am happy to take everything on board. Ultimately, if you don't understand what people want or expect, there will always be a disconnect. Better to know than not to know.

Just reposting my layout suggestion and removing the SP data as you explained the price implications.

I think the key thing I am picking up from a few of the guys is that some are only interested in Fundamental and others TA. Separating the threads allows for people to focus on areas that they are interested. Also the announcements in particularly price sensitive should have there own threads.
Trav, that's very ambitious and a fundamental change in the way threads are structured. I'd be interested in what other think of such an idea. I know HC do something similar with tabs: Discussion, Company Information, Announcements etc.

I think the thing that may end up making it difficult it simply the amount of custom coding that would be required. I will investigate what existing plugins are available in any case. I certainly appreciate the detailed suggestion and would be interested in what others think.
 

Joe Blow

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I do agree that Joe has not used his dictatorship as strongly
and as QUICKLY as he could have. The site would be very
different had a lot of those who have left were still active.

Joe you have to draw a line. You own it---its your line!
It doesn't have to be right for anyone.
The question Id be asking is "Is this good for my forum?"

Nurturing valuable people is more important
in my view than finding new people.
The clients you have are your core.
I'll admit it, I'm a terrible dictator. And not terrible like Ivan the Terrible.

If ASF was a country and I was dictator, I would have been toppled and executed a long time ago.

I'll see what I can do about developing a bit more of an iron fist. :D
 
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You could attract quality TA traders by allowing members to set up subscription threads and sell their buys/sells in real time. I'd be very keen to piggyback modest or minwa's trades, for example.
 

galumay

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I think you have to decide what you want, implement it and then moderate strongly. The design and functionality is fine as is. In my experience the successful forums have zero tolerance for breaches of the rules, give people a warning, articulate whats acceptable, if they persist in breaching, wield the ban hammer!
 

Joe Blow

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You could attract quality TA traders by allowing members to set up subscription threads and sell their buys/sells in real time. I'd be very keen to piggyback modest or minwa's trades, for example.
@Modest? @minwa? You guys in? Big bucks to be made. :D

Seriously though, I think you'd probably need to be licensed to do that.

I think you have to decide what you want, implement it and then moderate strongly. The design and functionality is fine as is. In my experience the successful forums have zero tolerance for breaches of the rules, give people a warning, articulate whats acceptable, if they persist in breaching, wield the ban hammer!
I understand what you saying galumay. Standards are important, so are limits. So it becomes a question of where you draw the line. The difficulty for me personally is that I don't enjoy authoritarian environments. I don't like communities where people are afraid to speak because the rules are so strict that it feels like a police state with authority figures waiting to pounce. I wouldn't want to be a member of a community like that and I certainly wouldn't want to be in control of one that operated like that.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that is what you're proposing. I'm just explaining that I prefer a more relaxed, slightly looser feel. I don't like obscenities. I don't like name calling or personal attacks. I don't like trolls, and I have no time for spammers. I want people to treat others with respect. Those are my standards. This place is at its best when people are sharing their knowledge freely and engaging in discussion and debate in a constructive, co-operative way. That is what I'd like to see here at ASF. That's my idea of an ideal community. Nothing is perfect of course, but that is what we should strive for in my opinion.

And there should always be plenty of good humour and lightheartedness. I want everyone to have a bit of fun and enjoy themselves. Let's not take life too seriously.
 
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@Modest? @minwa? You guys in? Big bucks to be made. :D

Seriously though, I think you'd probably need to be licensed to do that.



I understand what you saying galumay. Standards are important, so are limits. So it becomes a question of where you draw the line. The difficulty for me personally is that I don't enjoy authoritarian environments. I don't like communities where people are afraid to speak because the rules are so strict that it feels like a police state with authority figures waiting to pounce. I wouldn't want to be a member of a community like that and I certainly wouldn't want to be in control of one that operated like that.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that is what you're proposing. I'm just explaining that I prefer a more relaxed, slightly looser feel. I don't like obscenities. I don't like name calling or personal attacks. I don't like trolls, and I have no time for spammers. I want people to treat others with respect. Those are my standards. This place is at its best when people are sharing their knowledge freely and engaging in discussion and debate in a constructive, co-operative way. That is what I'd like to see here at ASF. That's my idea of an ideal community. Nothing is perfect of course, but that is what we should strive for in my opinion.

And there should always be plenty of good humour and lightheartedness. I want everyone to have a bit of fun and enjoy themselves. Let's not take life too seriously.
Well said @Joe Blow .

Some strategic publication of your present legal difficulties with a sympathetic press and the fine tuning of of the present format is all I can suggest atm.

Onward and upwards in the face of adversity.

gg
 

Zaxon

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On the whole, I like how the forums are set out now. Here are a few "keep it the same" and "change it a little", and even some more fanciful recommendations.

Keep it the same:
  • Keep the way you handle in-post attachments the same in future. There's nothing like seeing a graph right there in someone's post, and your current sizing seems perfect.
  • Keep the "like" system. It's nice to be able to give someone a like when they've posted something that resonates with you.
  • Keep General Chat hidden. The board has become a much friendlier place with that tucked out of sight.
  • Keep the same or similar forum structure. I think it's largely, logically and well structured.
  • Keep the forum theme the same (or similar). Everything looks OK already.
  • Keep the avatars prominent. That picture becomes the "face" of the person who posted. You very quickly start to recognize people by their avatars, and I greatly miss that on other forums where they aren't used, or where the avatars are less prominent.
Improvements:
  • Allow any-time edits. Perhaps you're trying to preserve the "integrity" of posts. I understand that. But nothing annoys me more than seeing a spelling mistake I've made, or a sentence I should have added to clarify my original post, and I'm blocked from editing the post because 'x' minutes have passed. Reddit, Facebook comments, Youtube comments etc, allow you to edit anytime.
  • Allow any-time deletes. Perhaps you posted something at 3 am, when you were tired/drunk. The next morning, you wake up and think, "What a stupid post that was. That really needs to be deleted." But alas, it's now set in stone. Allow threads (by the OP) and individual posts (replies) to be deletable by their poster, anytime.
  • Step up your moderation a bit. Rules like "be civil and don't attack other people" seem not to be enforced here (although more a General Chat issue). Personal attacks will make people leave permanently.
  • Remove the Sentiment "star system" of rating each individual stock. Virtually nobody uses it anyway, and so when you do see it, it looks a bit odd.
  • Have a text field where you can enter the reason "why", when you put someone on ignore. Six months down the track, I've forgotten who's ignored for what. A text field in your ignore list would remind you of whom you want to ignore for life, and of whom you're giving a temporary "time out".
  • If you click on "show ignored messages", that status should stay on for the whole thread. You shouldn't have to reclick it when you go to the next page.
  • Be able to temporarily turn on/off ignored posts globally. Sometimes you're not in the mood for trash talk. Other times you're feeling charitable and will read anything. Click a link to toggle a global status, and have that remembered.
Creative suggestions:
  • I have no idea if this is even possible, but here goes. There are many threads with brilliant, well written, high quality posts. It would be nice if there was a new type of thread called an "article". Perhaps they'd have a special icon. Somehow the format would appear different, and more like an article. People could comment on the article in posts below. This would encourage people to do well researched, "articles" that people could refer back to. Note: pinning isn't this concept. I'm trying to somehow distinguish regular chat threads from posts which are deliberately written as "works of art".
  • There are some amazing threads. The original poster did a good job. Amazing posts follow. But then some people get in the thread and start an argument, or start posting a whole lot of unrelated content to the actual thread. It would be nice if the original poster had a way of minimizing these, to preserve the flow of the thread. Perhaps they appear "collapsed" by default, and you'd need to click into them to read them.
  • Have other ways of sorting threads. Currently they're sorted by date-time, but perhaps you could also have an option of sorting them by a "quality score" or "similar to other posts I've read" score. I live in a "Netflix" world. The posts I'm most likely to read should somehow bubble to the top.
  • Have a thread in a reply-based, tree structure (like reddit), where you can just collapse a sub-tree. This allows you to skip parts of the thread you're not interested in. This requires allowing people to reply to a specific post in the thread, and using that to form the tree structure. Facebook has this to a limited extent too. Reddit has it perfected.
  • Have an "OP" (original poster) tag on his posts. Particularly if the thread was started with a specific question, it's useful on page 46 to have the OPs posts distinguished from other people's posts.
I realize that some of my suggestions are very forum software specific. But hey, you asked for suggestions, and many of my ideas are actually in use on other forums I use.
 
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On the whole, I like how the forums are set out now. Here are a few "keep it the same" and "change it a little", and even some more fanciful recommendations.

Keep it the same:
  • Keep the way you handle in-post attachments the same in future. There's nothing like seeing a graph right there in someone's post, and your current sizing seems perfect.
  • Keep the "like" system. It's nice to be able to give someone a like when they've posted something that resonates with you.
  • Keep General Chat hidden. The board has become a much friendlier place with that tucked out of sight.
  • Keep the same or similar forum structure. I think it's largely, logically and well structured.
  • Keep the forum theme the same (or similar). Everything looks OK already.
  • Keep the avatars prominent. That picture becomes the "face" of the person who posted. You very quickly start to recognize people by their avatars, and I greatly miss that on other forums where they aren't used, or where the avatars are less prominent.
Improvements:
  • Allow any-time edits. Perhaps you're trying to preserve the "integrity" of posts. I understand that. But nothing annoys me more than seeing a spelling mistake I've made, or a sentence I should have added to clarify my original post, and I'm blocked from editing the post because 'x' minutes have passed. Reddit, Facebook comments, Youtube comments etc, allow you to edit anytime.
  • Allow any-time deletes. Perhaps you posted something at 3 am, when you were tired/drunk. The next morning, you wake up and think, "What a stupid post that was. That really needs to be deleted." But alas, it's now set in stone. Allow threads (by the OP) and individual posts (replies) to be deletable by their poster, anytime.
  • Step up your moderation a bit. Rules like "be civil and don't attack other people" seem not to be enforced here (although more a General Chat issue). Personal attacks will make people leave permanently.
  • Remove the Sentiment "star system" of rating each individual stock. Virtually nobody uses it anyway, and so when you do see it, it looks a bit odd.
  • Have a text field where you can enter the reason "why", when you put someone on ignore. Six months down the track, I've forgotten who's ignored for what. A text field in your ignore list would remind you of whom you want to ignore for life, and of whom you're giving a temporary "time out".
  • If you click on "show ignored messages", that status should stay on for the whole thread. You shouldn't have to reclick it when you go to the next page.
  • Be able to temporarily turn on/off ignored posts globally. Sometimes you're not in the mood for trash talk. Other times you're feeling charitable and will read anything. Click a link to toggle a global status, and have that remembered.
Creative suggestions:
  • I have no idea if this is even possible, but here goes. There are many threads with brilliant, well written, high quality posts. It would be nice if there was a new type of thread called an "article". Perhaps they'd have a special icon. Somehow the format would appear different, and more like an article. People could comment on the article in posts below. This would encourage people to do well researched, "articles" that people could refer back to. Note: pinning isn't this concept. I'm trying to somehow distinguish regular chat threads from posts which are deliberately written as "works of art".
  • There are some amazing threads. The original poster did a good job. Amazing posts follow. But then some people get in the thread and start an argument, or start posting a whole lot of unrelated content to the actual thread. It would be nice if the original poster had a way of minimizing these, to preserve the flow of the thread. Perhaps they appear "collapsed" by default, and you'd need to click into them to read them.
  • Have other ways of sorting threads. Currently they're sorted by date-time, but perhaps you could also have an option of sorting them by a "quality score" or "similar to other posts I've read" score. I live in a "Netflix" world. The posts I'm most likely to read should somehow bubble to the top.
  • Have a thread in a reply-based, tree structure (like reddit), where you can just collapse a sub-tree. This allows you to skip parts of the thread you're not interested in. This requires allowing people to reply to a specific post in the thread, and using that to form the tree structure. Facebook has this to a limited extent too. Reddit has it perfected.
  • Have an "OP" (original poster) tag on his posts. Particularly if the thread was started with a specific question, it's useful on page 46 to have the OPs posts distinguished from other people's posts.
I realize that some of my suggestions are very forum software specific. But hey, you asked for suggestions, and many of my ideas are actually in use on other forums I use.
@Zaxon you nailed it.

Skate.
 

Joe Blow

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On the whole, I like how the forums are set out now. Here are a few "keep it the same" and "change it a little", and even some more fanciful recommendations.
Some good suggestions there Zaxon. Lots of food for thought. Thanks for your efforts in putting them all together.

Some, like having the OP tagged, are relatively simple and that is something that I will implement immediately after having upgraded.

Others, like having any-time edits and post deletes, I have fundamental objections to. ASF exists as a resource because of the integrity of its content. Having any-time edits and post deletes allows people not only to rip entire pages out the ASF book but to rewrite it at a later date, potentially making valuable discussions unintelligible. I think that is an unacceptable risk. If it is just a matter of spelling errors or wishing to add content at a later date I have what I believe are better solutions:

1. Proofreading. Before you submit a post, proofread it. After you submit a post, proofread it again. Make any changes. Then proofread it again. Make any final adjustments. Then proofread it one final time to ensure that it exists in the form that you would like it to stay in.
2. If you would like to add additional information after the post edit time limit has expired, quote the relevant parts of your own post and reply to them. This is just as effective as editing the original post.
3. If there is still an issue with a post and you really want it adjusted I can make any minor changes.
4. If you want a post deleted, contact me. I can do it. Keep in mind that if others have quoted your deleted post, those posts will have to be removed too in order for the thread to flow in a logical, intelligible way.

I think half an hour is an adequate amount of time for posts to be finalised. The risk with extending it beyond that is people will often quote posts quickly after they have been posted. To have a quoted post that is different from the original post creates confusion and difficulty for those reading the thread at a later date.

I hope you understand my reasons. As always, I would be interested in hearing what others think of this suggestion, along with all the others you have made. It is useful when others agree or disagree with suggestions or feedback and explain why. This helps me better understand what people want or don't want and why.

This post has been proofread multiple times. :)
 
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I'll admit it, I'm a terrible dictator. And not terrible like Ivan the Terrible.

If ASF was a country and I was dictator, I would have been toppled and executed a long time ago.

I'll see what I can do about developing a bit more of an iron fist. :D
Just re this. If there is clear infringement of the behavioural 'code of ethics' or the general values that you want to support/promote on your forum then coming down on someone to 'enforce' that is perfectly fine as far as I am concerned - nor should it create doubt or angst in yourself for doing it. But I get that that is easier said than done for many of us. However - not doing that allows too many unenforced breaches and boundary excursions that muddies the flavour of the place...and that in itself will see the wrong people being more involved. I am a (relatively inactive) member at futures.io...it is a very well moderated site and there are clear behavioural and community focussed expectations. If they are repeatedly breached ( and people are given warnings) - that person is gone..with explanation but without apology. Mike is clear and firm and the site is better for that. He also has a good team of moderators that also do a good job.
 
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I agree with you Joe, on the proof reading, I re read and re write my posts often after I have posted it and then re read it again and I still stuff it up.
However as you say, the general thrust and flow of the thread would be completely lost, if parts were removed or changed at a later date.
As Zaxon says, it would be great if certain threads could take prominence, as there is a wealth of information in some of them. But I assume this would be difficult to implement, also the threads I find informative and interesting and, may not be the same as the next person.
But on a general note, I find the forum is well set out and functional and generally operates well.
Since your server move the site does hang up a lot, but I assume that is out of your control.
Moderation is your domain and responsibility and the posters are generally civil, but I think a P.M to those who get a bit out of control wouldn't go astray.
To me banter is fine, I actually enjoy it, but some are obviously only on the site to be disruptive and add nothing of value, be that in a banter, investment or general discussion sense. Thankfully you have the ignore function, which I have used one since joining the form, so it isn't a huge issue IMO.
All in all Joe, you have a pretty good site, that I'm sure it will improve now people know your a bit more about your ethos and can pm you with suggestions and feedback.
Keep up the terrific work, it is greatly appreciated IMO. :2twocents
One thought that just hit me, could you put a 5 minute delay on posts going live, so that when you have time to fix them before they show on the forum.:confused:
 

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