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It started. Should I be sad? (Facebook)

Rigel Kentaurus

Well-known member
#1
So.. this actually happened on my forum today. I am deciding if I should be sad, impressed, or if it is funny.

HI. Could you tell me how I publish something. I am used to Facebook and this is all new to me
Cuteness aside, and nevermind the fact that she created a thread to ask how to created a thread....

This is the first time that I get a member that knows Facebook, but does NOT knows how a forum works. I expect to start getting more like that as time progresses. She is 13.

I did follow up, and I am doing some analysis

1) People have to choose a FORUM to post INTO, not post into a generic timeline. That is somehow different.
2) The term "thread" seems completely alien to them
3) The instinct somehow is to look at the top of the forum for a textfield in which to share something, not to click on a button and then write a lenghty text
 

Kier

XenForo Developer
Staff member
#2
When I was designing the XenForo UI, I did consider a radically different, Facebook-style method of posting a new thread, but as I played with the idea I found that it really didn't encourage the more in-depth posting that is the key to the distinction between Facebook and forums. It may be something I look at again in the future, but there's a reason why certain aspects of the forum experience have remained consistent for over a decade.
 

Tigratrus

Well-known member
#3
This is a good point. We used to have a catch all forum for people to post into if they didn't have any clue where to post. It kinda worked too well, as a huge # of posts ended up there and never got moved to the appropriate forum.

Maybe this could be addressed by having a simple text capture (that simple text field Rigel mentioned) that leads them through the posting process by presenting a walk through for new posters? Show them screens that present the forum tree with descriptions so that they can select the forum to post into. And maybe some explanatory screens to show them the normal process (Go to forum of choice -> New Topic/Thread button -> User Editor etc) if it is one of their first couple of posts?

Might help train new members and show them how the system works instead of presenting them with a totally novel interface (from their perspective) and expecting them to read help files (which will NEVER happen) or just figure it out on their own.

I'm thinking that SOME sort of hand holding for first time posters is probably a VERY good idea.

:: tosses two shiny coins in hat ::
 

erich37

Well-known member
#4
I got a similar thing: somebody posted a new thread and the text posted was this:

Hi! I don't know what creating a thread is but I'm doing it
 

Rigel Kentaurus

Well-known member
#6
When I was designing the XenForo UI, I did consider a radically different, Facebook-style method of posting a new thread, but as I played with the idea I found that it really didn't encourage the more in-depth posting that is the key to the distinction between Facebook and forums. It may be something I look at again in the future, but there's a reason why certain aspects of the forum experience have remained consistent for over a decade.
I completely and heartily agree with you, as I think a key difference is that a forum is still a forum. And 140 character threads would do absolutely no good for my forum.

Instead of having people compelled to stop visiting my site and moving to the "real thing", I am taking the approach of showing them that a forum is a different experience, they are complementary, and that they need both. The forum will not satisfy their social needs to chat with friends, and Facebook will never satisfy the need of browsing organized contents and reading discussions.

I don't know if this is true for everybody but, I have never hold a serious, long conversation, while in Facebook. The character limit and the tendency of writing small denies that. So, I always fall back to forums for certain things.

So, I think what you are doing with XenForo of taking the best parts of the social experience while still focusing on a forum paradigm is a great thing.
 

Tigratrus

Well-known member
#7
One of the things we had on the drawing board was to try and develop a "New Member" style that would have a BIG Button (repositioned, relabeled and prominent style chooser) to skip to the normal style for those that knew how to work with a forum. The "New Member" style would present a very help rich interface that would walk them through the posting process for the first few posts before changing to the default style. There would be a message telling them how to turn "Help" mode back on if they wanted to simply by changing the style later.

The key point here, is that you don't want the initial interface to be a barrier to entry for folks that have no clue what a forum is. You have just one chance to reach out and help that visitor, welcome them and help them come to grips with a novel (to them) interface. If you fail to make that effort, they will often just go elsewhere, and that's a loss/fail. Expecting new members with absolutely no experience with forums to simply GET it, or to RTFM, well, I think that's a fault when it comes to fostering a community.
 

erich37

Well-known member
#8
It is not about Facebook, it is just about having an intuitive interface even your granny can understand and use. Whether you call it Forum or Facebook is not relevant.

I would suggest to just remove the button "Post New Thread" and have the Editor at the very top of each Forum (thread-list).

So literally being able to create a new thread by just "1-Click" onto the Forum-name.

This would make the whole process of creating a new thread simpler as you do not need to search for the "create new thread button". A user who is not familiar to forums will never even think of using a button to post something. I think this would also be an improvement for even experienced forum-users.
Additionally, this would also make the bradcrumbs-structure even simpler to understand.

see mockup attached.

xf_idea.gif
 

Kier

XenForo Developer
Staff member
#10
see mockup attached.
Problem there is that it caters for a very rare case, and ruins the experience for everyone else. The vast majority of views of that thread list page are to click on threads to view them, not to post new threads. By placing that enormous form there you have optimised for what is in actual fact an edge case, and forced everyone else to needlessly scroll down in order to find the content on the page.
 

Jesepi

Well-known member
#12
Why would you ever want to do this for the minority, rather than just guide them to understanding the proper way of doing things?

People are too willing to contort stuff in order to accommodate rather than having the slight chance of confrontation about someone doing something the wrong way.
 

erich37

Well-known member
#14
Why would you ever want to do this for the minority, rather than just guide them to understanding the proper way of doing things?

People are too willing to contort stuff in order to accommodate rather than having the slight chance of confrontation about someone doing something the wrong way.
XenForo is great as it is, just throwing in some brainstorming and giving feedback. Nobody here wants to have a FB-clone.
That´s all there is to it. :)
 

GofD

Well-known member
#15
One of the things we had on the drawing board was to try and develop a "New Member" style that would have a BIG Button (repositioned, relabeled and prominent style chooser) to skip to the normal style for those that knew how to work with a forum. The "New Member" style would present a very help rich interface that would walk them through the posting process for the first few posts before changing to the default style. There would be a message telling them how to turn "Help" mode back on if they wanted to simply by changing the style later.

The key point here, is that you don't want the initial interface to be a barrier to entry for folks that have no clue what a forum is. You have just one chance to reach out and help that visitor, welcome them and help them come to grips with a novel (to them) interface. If you fail to make that effort, they will often just go elsewhere, and that's a loss/fail. Expecting new members with absolutely no experience with forums to simply GET it, or to RTFM, well, I think that's a fault when it comes to fostering a community.
Our style included additional links to help and faq pages, to our new member page, etc. We also had callouts to the search box, the reply/start thread button, the user cp, etc. Our audience is 35-65, with many being not internet saavy at all. As an example, last week, in the Title box on the thread creation form, someone put "Mrs." No lie.
 

erich37

Well-known member
#17
This might be where changing the "Post New Thread" to "Post New Topic" comes into play? There is still a vast number of people out there who are new to forums,
whether they are FB users or not. They may not know what a thread is, but they certainly would know what a topic is, yes?
I have about 16 languages installed at my XF install and just walked through those languages.
As far as I understand those, all those languages are using the term "topic" or "discussion". I assume "thread" is a US-specific term?
Or is it even British english? :p .... let´s ask the Queen what she thinks of it ;)