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Fozzie's Avatar Comment 1 by Fozzie

It's just great as it is!

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 19:41:42 UTC | #862555

rsharvey's Avatar Comment 2 by rsharvey

I would suggest the comments section could do with an overhaul.. I've found the system to be glitchy, ever since the new site was launched, especially when quoting part of a previous post (I'm using chrome on a mac).

Also in my opinion there is, for a regular visitor, too much unnecessarily repeated info/graphics on each page. For example, the right-hand bar (NBGA, out-campaign links etc), is about as welcome as product advertisements when you are trying to concentrate on an essay or article.

Also, am I missing something or is it tricky to find and view a specific member's profile? The search bar often doesn't return the profile page of the member searched for, especially if the commenter in question is Richard, since the words "Richard" and "Dawkins" appear on almost every page of the site! :) It would be great to have a search filter which only returned profile pages, or something similar.

In general though I love this site and the commenters here, but when you visit a site as regularly as I do this one, the little things can niggle you..

Looking forward to the new site!

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 20:39:37 UTC | #862564

Functional Atheist's Avatar Comment 3 by Functional Atheist

This suggestion is as much editorial as design, but I'd prefer to see new material, whether original or links, be much more prominently featured on the homepage. I'd also like to see the top of the homepage updated much more frequently--preferably daily.

The current policy of leaving the lead photographs and stories at the top of the home page unchanged for day after day leads the casual visitor to the conclusion that there's nothing new on the site. Changing the quick-glance impression to highlight new material would help you retain more eyeballs for longer periods of time.

We live in a world of quick clicks. People are impatient, and rely highly on simple visual cues. If the three second impression you are giving is 'no change' then you are shooting yourself in the foot in terms of readership--not only will many click away, but some of them will eventually stop checking at all, if they are repeatedly given the impression that this site is a dull place with infrequent updates.

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 21:12:14 UTC | #862572

Michael Fisher's Avatar Comment 4 by Michael Fisher

A comments 'tree' would be better than the current linear arrangement ~ i.e. A reply to a comment should appear immediately below (& inset) to the particular comment User personal settings with... Personal Mail, Alerts & Subscriptions

However my biggest problem is insufficient new material. I think there should be new posts daily here & challenging new video material over at your YouTube channel... 132 uploaded videos (most of them very short) in four years is shameful. Many talented freethinkers would gladly have you host their videos ~ new, young blood !

I have given up emailing interesting links to articles@richarddawkins.net because they are not acknowledged with a return email nor (less importantly) have they being used :)

I suggest that you ask for more volunteers if you don't have the resources to email contributors & to do all the other things that lifts a site above the pack

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 21:23:33 UTC | #862574

Corylus's Avatar Comment 5 by Corylus

Please fix the links that got broke when you changed from 50 posts a page to 30. Get the server to check if stuffed and then recalculate if so.

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 21:25:27 UTC | #862575

Ivan The Not So Bad's Avatar Comment 6 by Ivan The Not So Bad

I would block quote comment #2 by rsharvey but, as a fellow Chrome user, it would mean launching IE9 and suffering a juddering reminder of what life was like on the internets back in the year 1BC (Before Chrome).

Even going retro on IE it's still buggy but at least it's possible. Also, I preferred the 50 comments per page format (especially as the second page always fails to load the first couple of comments properly in Chrome and has to be refreshed).

Aside from these technical points, I'd like to see some consideration given as to how the site could better highlight, promote and act as a hub for campaigning issues and action to take alerts both in terms of news and on an ongoing basis.

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 21:31:49 UTC | #862576

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 7 by God fearing Atheist

A decent post editor would help.

For one, the moderator wouldn't have to correct the persistent tabs/spaces problem which causes quoted posts to run off the right hand side.

Nested quotes have to manually corrected to format correctly.

Quite often I (and others) want to use some maths. It is nearly impossible.

I remember an Albino gorilla going wild with a pack of kids' crayons, so you might not want to give users the full html toolkit, but the current editor is f--g awful.

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 21:42:26 UTC | #862579

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 8 by AtheistEgbert

I think the site could do with simplification. A single article section, an opinion or community section where regulars get to post their opinions, and perhaps an 'official' campaign section where the entire atheist community can get together behind important political goals.

I would like to see more opinion pieces that can spark discussions, not only from regulars here, but from some of the main atheist/sceptical/humanist activists. I find discussions tend towards people agreeing or disagreeing, remarking about how right or wrong such a person is, personal attacks and far too much hostility towards each other, and very little rational criticism going on (I am guilty of this too).

Is the site meant to be entertainment or serious activism? I think perhaps it needs to decide whether it is one or the other. I don't think the two mix so well.

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 21:42:40 UTC | #862580

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 9 by All About Meme

I will be starting a new job come next Monday, and my available time for interacting in the various comment sections on Richard's website -- one of the true joys in life -- will undoubtedly decrease rather significantly. Hence, I submit the following request, in a effort to optimize my RD.net participation.

Could there be a way of notifying, or flagging, or otherwise informing a particular user -- me for instance, that another user has responded to a comment I made? As it stands now, there are a couple of different ways I use to find out who is talking to me:

(1) I can browse the Latest Comments stream, and page back to the point I last checked, to see if there are any responses to my submitted comments, which is often time-consuming;

-or-

(2) I can click on my own profile, and then click one-by-one on the comments I've already made, to see if any replies exist downstream in that particular thread -- also time-consuming, if the thread is long.

This feature could be implemented in numerous ways, but not being an avid web programmer myself, I'm sure I couldn't advise as to which method might be the easiest. One way that comes immediately to mind, would be to have some sort of notification in my own profile page. It would resemble an "Inbox" in functionality, but hopefully it could simply provide me with a direct, click-able link to any comment made by another user, which was addressed personally to me, or any comment which included text from one of my comments.

In my more creative and energetic moments, I even considered creating a "neural network" type graphical page, powered by the HTML data on RD.net, which would display every user who participates in the comment sections as an individual "node", and if that node submitted a comment referencing another node, a simple line would be drawn between the two nodes. If one node directed two comments to another node, a double line would be drawn, and perhaps colors could be used to differentiate separate threads.

So a single glance at the network map would show me whether anybody has "spoken" to me, and then it would be as simple as clicking on the connecting line to be taken to the actual comment itself. Additionally, other users could use the same "neural network page" to see where the "debating party" currently resides, or where the most active threads are in terms of people replying to each other.

There's potentially a lot more to this, as well as some conceivable flaws with the idea, but the primary purpose would be to allow time-strapped participants (like me), with a quick method for determining who they have becomed "engaged" with, in the numerous topics on RD.net.

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 21:49:28 UTC | #862582

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 10 by ZenDruid

Comments page numbers at the top.

Also, do something so that we can go from page 2 to page 1 without hitting the back button 3 (IE) or 5 (Firefox) times...

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 21:52:36 UTC | #862584

ClumsyEngineer's Avatar Comment 11 by ClumsyEngineer

In the "RDF Productions" section, please put brief descriptions next to the videos rather than just the names of the interviewees. I would also like to see more "Calls-to-action" type things as in comment 8.

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 22:05:30 UTC | #862586

Mumbo-Jumbo's Avatar Comment 12 by Mumbo-Jumbo

Comment 4 by Michael Fisher :

** A comments 'tree' would be better than the current linear arrangement ~ i.e. A reply to a comment should appear immediately below (& inset) to the particular comment

I second the comments tree as seen on Jerry Coyne's 'blog' WEIT.

Perhaps there could also be some way of recommending the most helpful comments (as with CiF on the Guardian website).

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 22:24:13 UTC | #862589

Robert Howard's Avatar Comment 13 by Robert Howard

I feel a bit awkward suggesting changes to a website of which I've only been a member for a couple of months, but here goes:

1) None of the changes should be cosmetic; they should only be functional. Don't go all George Lucas and try to vajazzle RDnet. The site looks fine the way it is.

2) On members' profiles, how about some information as to the country of origin. New members sometimes ask for advice without mentioning where they live. If someone is trying to get out of an arranged marriage, for example, any counsel existing members try to offer will always be contingent upon whether the person is posting from Saudi Arabia or Milton Keynes. A little flag next to the avatar picture could save a lot of time.

3) More than 5 minutes to edit any posts.

4) I don't know if it's just my computer, but the window in which I get to type my comments is pretty small. I sometimes begrudge the fact that some of my fellow posters get to be as long-winded as they like while I have to condense everything I say into about 30 lines. Certain people's comments on this site take aeons to wheel down through. I can't even imagine how long it would take were I actually to read them (I won't mention any funky names).

I have more beefs but I've just run out of space.

PS. Good luck in your new job, Meme. Don't be a stranger here. :)

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 23:21:25 UTC | #862604

Michael Fisher's Avatar Comment 14 by Michael Fisher

Comment 13 by Robert Howard :

4) I don't know if it's just my computer, but the window in which I get to type my comments is pretty small...I have to condense everything I say into about 30 lines

Type in wordpad or any other text editor & when you're happy... > copy text > paste into comment pane

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 01:25:47 UTC | #862625

Steve Hanson's Avatar Comment 15 by Steve Hanson

  1. A comment tree.
  2. Limit the length of comments (not to a ridiculously short length, but some comments are way too long).
  3. A voting system, that is, being able to thumb up or down a comment.
  4. Allow people to connect on here in a semi-social networking way.

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 01:39:48 UTC | #862626

mmurray's Avatar Comment 16 by mmurray

Superscripts !!! Could we get superscripts. It is just plain embarrassing on a site devoted to science to see Fermat's Last Theorem written an + bn = cn. Or e=mc2 etc. Of course you could go further and allow maths symbols of all kinds but just the superscripts would be a start.

I'd also like some way of knowing there has been a response to me or a new post on a thread I'm following. These are slightly different things I know but the latter would be enough.

I'm not a fan of discussion trees. I can never find the latest posts.

I would really like to be able to click on a link like "Comment by ..." and go to the comment and have the quote symbol display. At the moment when I do this the quote is not showing and I need to click on the top of the page on the name of the topic, that goes back to the beginning then I guess what page I was on and go forward again. This change came in awhile back and it really slows down the process of reading and replying.

A longer time to fix my typos.

Some kind of personal messaging ? It should be off by default to stop harassment. But occasionally people like to exchange email addresses.

Thanks - Michael

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 02:14:14 UTC | #862629

mmurray's Avatar Comment 17 by mmurray

Comment 13 by Robert Howard :

4) I don't know if it's just my computer, but the window in which I get to type my comments is pretty small. I sometimes begrudge the fact that some of my fellow posters get to be as long-winded as they like while I have to condense everything I say into about 30 lines. Certain people's comments on this site take aeons to wheel down through. I can't even imagine how long it would take were I actually to read them (I won't mention any funky names).

What browser and os do you use ? In mine (Safari or Chrome) I can drag the bottom RHS of the text window and it expands.

Michael

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 02:15:10 UTC | #862630

dandelion fluff's Avatar Comment 18 by dandelion fluff

Would it be too much to ask for a cookie for each thread to take me to the last read comment? Or else one for the whole list of Latest Comments to take me where I left off, so I don't have to scroll through them. Sometimes there are a LOT.

And I agree with Robert Howard - don't make the site glitzy; it would be too hard to concentrate on the posts.

Thanks!

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 03:33:28 UTC | #862642

weavehole's Avatar Comment 19 by weavehole

Superscripts.

Also, on the front page could you make the second of each article's two links go to the last page of comments rather than the first comment? Saves on the oh-so-laborious extra clicking on long comment threads for lazy people like me.

Or maybe the cookie for last read comment would negate the need for this.

Not sure which idea would be more user-friendly/easier to implement.

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 05:18:25 UTC | #862648

12PM's Avatar Comment 20 by 12PM

It might be good if you have 'reply' button for each comment. that will allow the replies are recorded with the comment. but make them as only links that lead to where the comments (replies) are shown. the actual replies should be shown as the next comments.

the idea is -

  1. original comment - with reply button

  2. replies - hidden but when the are shown, only show as links; to read the replies, click the links

  3. each reply is recorded as the next comment as you do now.

i.e. if the original comment is no.1 comment and if there are comments.2,3 and 4, the reply will become no.5 and that is shown with the comment no.1. If there are comments 6,7, and 8, another reply to comment no.1 will be comment no.9 and also the link is shown with comment no.1.

I think it will make the debaters to enjoy better that they can now reduce the workload of searching if there is a reply or not.

In this case, when the reply button is clicked, the whole comment no.1 may appear in the text box - if desired. but not necessary. yet you can see the comment no.1 above the text box at least and it will be a lot easier to reply - without missing some critical points.

at the moment, if you want to reply, you have to memorize the comment (if there are a lot of comments) - that's hard. if the comment you're replying is on the same page, that can be alright yet you have scroll up and down to see the comment and to type again.

also you should be able to reply to a reply and give a link to that comment. and when clicked, it should appear in different window - a popup window can be alright for fast reading and tracking.

I don't know what will happen to reply to a reply to a reply to a reply ... you would have to sort it out :D with a popup windows again (and again).

my2cents

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 06:01:20 UTC | #862652

sandman67's Avatar Comment 21 by sandman67

Ok....lets turn this on its head...

WHY? Why are you suggesting changes to the design? Is it because there are good reasons, or are you just making change for changes sake. Change for reason, or change just because changing the interface is trendy and something you think you need to do to keep the goldfish memoried jellyheads happy.

See Im going to use a real example here - Media Matters For America. They recently changed the format of their front end, and made changes for no apparent reason. The result is a less simple, more complex, less user friendly mess. Its now harder to track new content and access it easily...result? I spend less time on the site and access less content.

Im pretty sure you are dead set on making these proposed changes, so let me try to inject a little common sense. Not every net user wants apps, widgets, RSS feeds and geegaws ad nauseam. Some of us, the Luddite fringe, would like nice clean simple interfaces to work with....so....

KISS.....Keep It Simple Stupid!

Personally I dont see anything wrong with the way things look and work now. Easy to use, easy to find stuff.

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 09:09:56 UTC | #862674

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 22 by Stafford Gordon

Could it be made possible for us to access, and if necessary, choose to delete or edit items from our own comments archive please?

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 09:48:11 UTC | #862682

-TheCodeCrack-'s Avatar Comment 23 by -TheCodeCrack-

I'm a member of 4 years.

a) Please fix the quotes up. If you quote a comment that already has a quote with in it, I expect to see this layed out clearly.

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 11:07:02 UTC | #862697

DavidMcC's Avatar Comment 24 by DavidMcC

I agree with TheCodeCrack's comment. above. I use two systems, one is IE on Windows XP, the other, IE on Windows 7. In the former, the quote button works, but ONLY if there are no pre-existing quotes. In the latter, it never works properly. As a result, I am forever editing my posts, and try to avoid quoting at all. I also note that this is quite a common problem with users, so it would be good to fix it,even though it is probably difficult to fix it in so many different systems at once.

I also think that this should be a "sticky" thread, as it is my experience as a user of software-controlled systems, that new problems often pop up when old ones are fixed. This would allow us to make a public comment on such technical matters without being "off topic" in a "normal" thread.

EDIT: I should also mention again the instability problem that makes editing so difficult when there is more text than fits the window. Obviously, I try to pre-prepare the text, but I don't have a text editor with the same properties as the site comment window, so it is hard to get the layout right every time.

The simple solution to this would be to arrange that the preview panel produces the same layout as the final form of the post. At the moment, it does not. This may be a minor problem, but it is slightly annoying, and should be simple to fix.

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 11:29:21 UTC | #862702

Ornicar's Avatar Comment 25 by Ornicar

Oh yes, something about the comments, please. A way to sort the last commented threads, and in those threads a way to display the newest comments first. Or better, to jump to the first un-read message. Most forums are pretty handy this way.

And quote blocs that really look like quote blocks, with the name of the quote author.

Thanks for making this site anyway. The content is wonderful, and all in all, the technic works alright.

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 12:29:14 UTC | #862721

mmurray's Avatar Comment 26 by mmurray

Comment 25 by Ornicar :

And quote blocs that really look like quote blocks, with the name of the quote author.

That's down the the person doing the quoting. If they leave it alone it appears as above. If they edit it it can become:

And quote blocs that really look like quote blocks, with the name of the quote author.

Michael

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 12:33:14 UTC | #862722

mmurray's Avatar Comment 27 by mmurray

Oh and can you fix the problem that occurs when you quote someone who has already quoted someone and the two quotes get rolled together. I always have to go back and remove a > to get the right nesting. It causes much confusion when it looks like people have said something they haven't.

Michael

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 12:35:39 UTC | #862723

mmurray's Avatar Comment 28 by mmurray

Comment 24 by DavidMcC :

EDIT: I should also mention again the instability problem that makes editing so difficult when there is more text than fits the window. Obviously, I try to pre-prepare the text, but I don't have a text editor with the same properties as the site comment window, so it is hard to get the layout right every time.

Can't you drag the bottom RH corner of the window to expand it ? This works on MacOS with Safari and Chrome ??

The simple solution to this would be to arrange that the preview panel produces the same layout as the final form of the post. At the moment, it does not. This may be a minor problem, but it is slightly annoying, and should be simple to fix.

It does for me pretty much.

Michael

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 12:37:48 UTC | #862724

njwong's Avatar Comment 29 by njwong

A. Comments page numbers at two locations: at the top and at the bottom of the Comment section.

Currently, I have to click on the "Add Comment" hyperlink to bring me to the bottom of the page so that I can click the "last page" . However, the "Add Comment" hyperlink is not shown if you are not logged in. The problem is that I visit this site from my notebook, my tablet and from my mobile phone, and as I don't comment much, I don't always log in, and when I don't, I lose the "Add Comment" hyperlink to go quickly to the page numbers to navigate to the last page to see the latest comments.

B. The total number of comments for each article can be shown on the home page. However, within the article itself, this number is not shown. It would be nice if the total number of comments can also be shown on the article page as well.

C. At the bottom of each comment, we have the following:

  • Quote icon
  • Permanent link to comment icon
  • Flag comment icon
  • Time stamp
  • Comment number
  • The "Flag comment icon" is too near the the other two icons, and is a problem when I am commenting from my tablet, as there is no mouse for precision clicking but only my fat pudgy finger which is prone to clicking the adjacent icon instead of the icon one intended. To prevent accidental clicking of the "Flag comment icon", can we rearrange their positions as so:

  • Quote icon
  • Permanent link to comment icon
  • Time stamp
  • Comment number
  • Flag comment icon
  • D. I actually prefer the current flat-structure layout of the comments where all comments are chronologically listed. As mmurray mentioned (comment 17), it would be difficult to follow the latest posts with a comment tree structure. If the comment tree is implemented, please offer users an option to display comments in the original flat-structure.

    E. I second the option to re-introduce "Country of Origin" back in the User's Profile. I always thought it provided a very useful piece of information about a commenter, and it was sorely missed when it was removed from the current site design.

    F. And do fix the editor. There are just too many bugs. For instance, if I numbered my paragraphs with "1.", "2." etc, the paragraph numbers will be thrown out of whack! This can only be resolved by numbering my paragraphs with "A.", "B." etc. Not particularly intuitive. (I just discovered this bug when writing this comment - and have to re-number my paragraph numbers with letters to avoid the problem).

    Sat, 20 Aug 2011 12:53:07 UTC | #862727

    Sara12's Avatar Comment 30 by Sara12

    Comment 29 by njwong :

    D. I actually prefer the current flat-structure layout of the comments where all comments are chronologically listed. As mmurray mentioned (comment 17), it would be difficult to follow the latest posts with a comment tree structure. If the comment tree is implemented, please offer users an option to display comments in the original flat-structure.

    I agree here. The Washington Post recently went to a nested structure from a flat structure and it became much less user friendly. If any new comments weren't right at the top (as in, replies to a previous comment) you had to scroll through the whole thread to find them. I think they had an option to change to chronological view, but without a reference to what someone was replying to, it made no sense. I definitely prefer the quote blocks here, though as others have stated, quoting a quoted piece does need to be fixed.

    Sat, 20 Aug 2011 13:29:36 UTC | #862735