Neoseeker.com Forum Thread: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications - page 1

reprinted from http://www.neoseeker.com/forums/
original thread: http://www.neoseeker.com/forums/2/t1585152-major-forum-update-pm-threads-notifications/


Author:   Redemption
Date:   Oct 14, 10 at 11:27pm (PST)
Subject:   Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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Hi everyone,

I am very pleased and excited to announce a major update to the Neoseeker forums. This is a very long post, but much of the information is useful, I hope .

This huge update features 2 major changes that I think greatly enhance the way we will use the site, and are very exciting: Notifications with Mentions, and Private Message Threads.

Notifications and Mentions




The Responses system that we launched several months ago was intended to enhance your awareness of activity on the site related to you. It worked well, but a large part of users didn't benefit from it since they didn't participate in all areas of the site.

To further improve on the idea, we've replaced the Responses tab in the user panel to become a Notifications tab instead, that includes 3 types of notifications new to this upgrade: Quotes, and Mentions.

Quotes simply sends you a Notification when someone quotes you in a forum post or comment.

Mentions sends you a Notification when someone "Mentions" you in a forum post or comment.

The Mentions system is particularly effective, and if you are familiar with Twitter or Facebook, you'll already have an idea of what it does. On Neoseeker, Mentions serve as a combination shortcut/addressbook to link to friends and contacts, and also an alert system to Notify them that you Mentioned them in a site activity.

You may already know that you can link to any Neoseeker member using the [[member:]] style notation, now instead you can use the @ symbol. Like this:

code
@Redemption


For users with spaces in their names you need to start and end the name with the @ symbol like this:
code
@Lone Warrior@


This does 2 things:
  1. links to Redemption's profile
  2. sends a Notification to Redemption letting him know you had mentioned him.
When you type the @ key followed by an letter or number it will bring up an autocomplete list of people in your friends or contacts list, or people that you've mentioned or PM'd in the past. This makes linking and mentioning users VERY easy to do.



Notifications will also let you know if someone comments on something you have commented on in the past. This is an experimental feature that will be tweaked as we understand how it affects users.

Private Message Threads


The first is the long awaited upgrade to Private Messages. The Private Message system (PM system) has been completely rewritten to operate like private threads. We call this the PM Thread system.

The PM Thread system still operates in a similar fashion to the original PM system: you still send an receive Private Messages to your friends and other Neoseeker members, with the exception that every post made to the thread is stored within a thread like conversation that participants can all see. You won't have to save PMs to a sent folder to keep records of what you sent, and you won't have to try and reconstruct PM conversations by browsing through a disjointed set of PMs. It is all kept together in one place and easily read in chronological order.

In addition to this, we took advantage of the major rewrite to change the nature of PM'ing multiple recipients. The concept of sending a single PM to multiple recipients has been done away with completely: instead, everyone you include in the recipient field of a new PM becomes invited to participate in the same PM thread'.

So instead of "recipients" per se, you are really sending PMs to
Participants'', and Participants can be added to the conversation by the thread creator, or any other participants. During our beta test, up to 20 participants can be added to a single PM thread (this may be reduced later if we feel the dynamics need adjustment).

Massively Improved Collaboration and Communication Opportunities


This is a major change from the previous model, where after sending a PM to recipients, none of the combined recipients have any way of interacting in a reliable and consistent manner with one another.

Now, you can invite anyone at ANY TIME in the conversation and that person would have access to the complete history of the PM conversation. This is a great tool for discussions where you need to invite someone else to be involved and informed.

Delete vs Leaving a PM Thread


Because the nature of PM Threads is fundamentally different than the old PM system, you can now either Delete a PM or "Leave" it.

Bother do the same thing, which is to "delete" the PM from your inbox or personal folder. However, when another participant replies to a Deleted PM it will come back into your inbox. This is the desired default behaviour for most users, and is the most familiar model for users used to the old PM system.

The "Leave" button will delete a PM, and also leave the conversation so that even if someone replies to that PM it will NOT show up in your inbox, and will NOT show up in your unread status. This is most appropriate for PM threads where there might be multiple people in the conversation and you no longer need to be involved in the thread.

Legacy PMs


The new PM Threads is a completely different architecture than the legacy PM system. For that reason old PMs had to be converted to the new PM Thread format. I spent a lot of time devising a powerful, and relatively accurate conversion method that can capture your old PMs and turn them into PM Threads. Due to the heavy load of this type of conversion work, only PMs from the past 3 years have been converted. I think this is MORE than ample. Because the system is based on analysing old PMs and trying to determine if they are part of a thread, including using the title as a strong hint, you may find that some PM threads converted from the old system may contain messages that are not actually part of that specific conversation. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about those, but for the most part this should affect a smaller proportion of converted threads and only if those threads appear to be the same topic matter via title and dates. This means that users who tend to always send PM's with the same title "Hi!" "Hey" "Hello" would tend to have more errors in the conversion process.

PMs that have NOT been converted are still available to users via the Legacy PM link in the sidebar of the PM page. You will no longer be able to reply to these, but you CAN still forward them (the forwards become a new PM thread).

Recently Deleted PMs


PMs that you delete may still be available in the Recently Deleted PMs link of the PM page. That page will display PMs that have been deleted, but whose last activity was in the past 90 days. Not all PMs will show here, depending on various internal factors. This is not meant to be a true "trash can", but will act as a pseudo trash from which you can undelete threads that you accidentally deleted. System PMs, and PMs with no other active participants cannot be undeleted, as they are deleted immediately and are lost forever.

New PM Limit Concept


PM limits are now based on the total number of threads you have. Members can have 1000 total threads, each of which can have 100 total replies.

Other Changes


New Post Colour Icons
Post icon colours work totally differently now. Instead of having special colours at specific ranks, you now stick with a colour after achieving specific ranks.

Eg Someone with 1000+ posts has yellow icons until they unlock the next color set. In future updates we hope to enable users to choose which colour they have unlocked to use.

As part of this change, The Slayer and Bobbonew have been asking members to put together some new icon colours for the ranks, and we've introduced a few new colours, including a surprisingly popular "pink" icon. Those of you stuck with the pink icon and aren't happy about it will have bear with us for now as we tweak and refine the ranks and colours .

Overall Changes:
+ Quick Quote: in forum threads quick quotes no longer erase text already written in the quick reply box, this also means you can "quote" multiple quotes.
+ PM system now tells via cookie crumbs and page titles when you are in a folder.
% send PM form is made slightly more streamlined for users who have alot of smilies

Bugs


This represents a very massive upgrade for us, and bugs and even performance issues are very possible.

Please report ALL bugs in the appropriate forum bugs and site bugs forums.

Concerns and Notes


Both major items (Notifications w/ Mentions, and PM Threads) we are launching today are very exciting, but as with all change, many people will have concerns or dislike some (or all?) of what we've done.

A lot of time was spent consulting with various members about choices that were made. The things that were done were done with much consideration to issues such as privacy, performance, useability, and "annoyance" factor. Unfortunately, its simply impossible to keep everyone happy as we try to improve upon what Neoseeker has, but I believe these changes are good enough for a majority of users, and we hope the rest will come to love them as well.

Mentions and Quotes and other Notifications can be abused, and there is no way to opt out of them at the moment. These are design choices made intentionally to see if the greater good and usefulness of these features can shine through the negative. We may or may not create a method to opt out of Notifications from certain individuals (perhaps combining it with the existing Ignore) system. We may or may not allow users to opt out of them completely. Your CONSTRUCTIVE feedback on these issues will be most appreciated, but they will not be useful unless you give it a few weeks (or months) to see what natural pattern of usage emerges.

PM Threads bring huge benefits, but also have drawbacks not seen in the previous model, such as the ability to easily show someone the entire contents of a conversation by inviting them into the conversation. This is not something we can fix. Like email, Private Messages are only private as long as ALL participants decide to keep them private. There have been many real life embarrassments caused by people leaking emails they were part of. Again, we carefully chose the route and features that best embraces useful changes while being feasible to deploy on a large scale.

Closing and Thanks


The forums were first created some 10 years ago, and have come a long way since then. I've been meaning to save the v1.0.0 version number for a special launch that included a rewrite of a major component (I had decided years ago the component was to be either my.neoforum or private messages). So with the completion of the PM upgrade and Mentions we've finally graduated to v1.0.0 of the forums.

From here on out I'll be incrementing version numbers much faster, so that smaller changes will result in a version increment where I never did that before. Don't expect another 10years for us to reach v2.0.0 .

This is also the FIRST in the series of many more tweaks as we learn more about how to improve PM Threads and Notifications, so please continue to give feedback and suggestions.

I'd like to thank ar_cat for all her hard work on this project. The Mentions system is no simple task and she did that entire Notifications system beautifully. She also helped significantly with the forum upgrade. Thanks also to all the members and staff who helped with testing, suggestions, and planning. Special thanks to tekmosis for coming in on a sick day to help the launch, and The Slayer who helped organize the new icon colours, and who also put together new smileys that we'll be launching soon too!

About the version name "Aperture"


In one of this years Neo events, Lorx won the prize of being able to name the next revision name of the neoforums, and he chose "Aperture", inspired by the Aperture Science company of Half-Life fame. Historically, each time I change a major version number (eg v0.8, v0.9, v1.0, and next, v1.1) I pick a name myself. This time around I think Lorx did a good job of picking one for us



Author:   Giga Bowser
Date:   Oct 14, 10 at 11:39pm (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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Wow, those new PMs suck.



Author:   Gotenks
Date:   Oct 14, 10 at 11:43pm (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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I`m liking the new updates so far! The new PM update is gonna be pretty handy for myself. I sometimes forget what I say in a PM when it`s been a few hours or even PMing multiple PM and most of them don't quote what I said. So this will be very useful for me!

Notifications is pretty cool as well. I was quoted by someone after I made a thread which took me off guard. But it was pretty neat!

Great updates again! Most of these will be very handful for myself and others I am sure.




Author:   Sayyed
Date:   Oct 14, 10 at 11:44pm (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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awesome!



Author:   chautemoc
Date:   Oct 14, 10 at 11:56pm (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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quote
You won't have to save PMs to a sent folder to keep records of what you sent, and you won't have to try and reconstruct PM conversations by browsing through a disjointed set of PMs.
Awesome. I get really annoyed when somebody responds to me and doesn't quote what I said..

quote
+ Quick Quote: in forum threads quick quotes no longer erase text already written in the quick reply box, this also means you can "quote" multiple quotes.
Also cool.

Overall, sounds very promising, and I dig the influence of email and Twitter. Only thing I'd suggest at this point is a note in the PM box on the "@" function for those that don't catch this thread.



Author:   Duncan Idaho
Date:   Oct 15, 10 at 12:04am (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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wait what the? why did this change was made? the old pm system worked perfectly!, sorry redepmtion, but i dont quite get the idea of eliminating privacy of the thread if its sent to multiple people? it was really all that necessary to upgrade an already working system, and also getting a lower bar on how much we can store? of 2500 pm's now to 1000?, im not sure it was a good idea, but its just my insignificant opinion.




Author:   Arietta
Date:   Oct 15, 10 at 12:16am (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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quote Duncan Idaho
wait what the? why did this change was made? the old pm system worked perfectly!, sorry redepmtion, but i dont quite get the idea of eliminating privacy of the thread if its sent to multiple people? it was really all that necessary to upgrade an already working system, and also getting a lower bar on how much we can store? of 2500 pm's now to 1000?, im not sure it was a good idea, but its just my insignificant opinion.

To solve the privacy thing, just don't invite people you don't want them to see your thread to your PM conversations, and just start a new thread .

And this looks more convenient now in terms of space: 2500 PMs alone sounds like a lot, 1000 PM threads which house god knows how many messages (message = pm), sounds like something bigger by a mile.



Author:   Guugley
Date:   Oct 15, 10 at 12:17am (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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Lorx you legend.



Author:   Redemption
Date:   Oct 15, 10 at 12:18am (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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quote Duncan Idaho
also getting a lower bar on how much we can store? of 2500 pm's now to 1000?, im not sure it was a good idea, but its just my insignificant opinion.

Right, I should clarify. You actually have MORE storage than ever before now. You can now have up to 1000 PM threads. Each thread can have up to 100 replies. In total, that's 100,000 total PMs if you maximized each thread (which most people won't).

Because that's a potential for having such a staggeringly big number we'll be monitoring usage to determine better thresholds.

I'm sure most of you who have 2000 Legacy PMs probably only have 100-500 PM threads right now, which total something like 1000-1200 messages. So overall most people will have more storage, not less.



Author:   The Slayer
Date:   Oct 15, 10 at 12:18am (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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You actually have more PM's now. You can have 1,000 PM threads each with 100 replies in them. Thats 100,000 PM's if you count them separately.

Ninja'ed



Author:   Aulis Vaara
Date:   Oct 15, 10 at 12:30am (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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The new PM system is both useful and irritating.

As Gotenks already said, it's useful to see what you have sent to the other person, even if it was only an hour before, because you might forget. So that is definitely useful.

The fact that a thread can only have a hundred replies, though, is somewhat disconcerting, since I have seen multiple times that some people carry on long conversations with others. A few thousand replies apparently not being an exception. I've made it to three thousand plus with someone who has long since left, and am now almost at five hundred with my co-mod Hyoren.

A second, less important thing is that there is a lot of padding in the new PM system. Not even half my screen is used. If I could design the form, I would put the avatar and name on the right or left and remove the bit of padding between the posts, more like the forums. It would be snappier and less of empty screen.

Oh, and I also prefer my avatar and those of others to be full-sized.



Author:   Fluroclad
Date:   Oct 15, 10 at 12:31am (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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I'm loving the new improvements though the improvements need to be moved to legacy mode for mobiles who are viewing in Desktop mode.




Author:   Zeta
Date:   Oct 15, 10 at 12:42am (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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So is there a list of these so called "specific color ranks"?

Never mind; here they are if anyone is curious: http://www.neoseeker.com/forums/15/t1585146-feedback-new-profile-icons/




Author:   Twin_Master
Date:   Oct 15, 10 at 12:43am (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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HOLY *bleep* THIS IS THE COOLEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH REDEMPTION! :D:D



Author:   Dark Arcanine
Date:   Oct 15, 10 at 12:49am (PST)
Subject:   re: Major Forum Update: PM Threads and Notifications
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- I just replied to a PM from Kiker. Although it shows in that new thread feature that I have replied, it's not registering in my inbox and is only stating that I've read it. But there is that "me" thing to the right. Is that a replacement or it should it be marked with the old "replied" too?
- Markup is not loading into the PM message box (it still is on the forums, however)
- Searching PM's from one member brings up another member (for some reason, no matter who I search, it only brings up PM threads with Isilwen)

I do quite like that notifications though!


[size=1][color=#666666]This message was edited by Dark Arcanine on Oct 14 2010.



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