Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

The new 2008 update of the Discussion Community

Forum usage

  • Please log in to reply
59 replies to this topic

#1 M.C. Steenberg

M.C. Steenberg

    Former Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,843 posts

Posted 19 December 2007 - 12:34 AM

Dear Discussion Community members,

You will notice that from midnight GMT on 19th December 2007, we are publicly testing out the upgraded system that has been 'in the works' over the past months. We hope you will enjoy some of the new features that are now provided, as well as the update to the look and feel of some of the existing features. We've been guided by a desire to provide new and popular features to the forum, whilst still retaining our traditional restrained, tidy feel and look, reflecting the nature of the conversations of this forum.

Please be advised that the upgraded system is currently in beta testing, which means we (and you) are prone to find quirks and glitches for the first few days and weeks. Please be very encouraged to use this thread as an area for reporting 'bugs' or other issues.

New features in the upgraded system:


The upgrade has provided us with the ability to add many new features to the Discusion Community system. Among these are the following:
  • New layout: The content of the Community has been given something of a 'facelift; with a new interface, layout, and design scheme. The goal has been to give the forum a cleaner, crisper feel, while grouping features together in a more logical manner. The toolbar at the top of forum pages has, for example, been substantially re-designed. While it may take a short time to find familiar features that used to be located in a different place, we are confident that the new arrangement is more sensible and groups common features together. Other 'tidying' changes have taken place throughout: fewer heavy tables, cleaner posts, and collapsable elements across the system, that allow you to display elements you want to see, and 'collapse' those you don't.
  • Entirely re-designed profiles: You will notice that the profile system has been entirely re-designed. Profiles are now much more in-depth, with tabbed interfaces, feature boxes, etc. While you can always edit your profile in the old manner (i.e. through the User Control Panel), you can also in-line edit some of the details: so it is possible to update your details from within your profile itself. Within the coming weeks, it will also be possible to configure additional display options in your profile: such as your own colour scheme and layout.
    • Member avatars: Part of the new profiles are 'avatars', or small images chosen by you to associate with your profile. We have deliberately not placed avatars on posts, as many forums do, as we feel this is rather too casual and cumbersome for this forum. However, avatars do allow your profile to be identified graphically when linked from others', etc.
  • Member chat in profiles: Profiles now feature a tab called 'Member Chat', allowing public discussions to be carried out in profiles - for social or other informal conversations not suited to the thematic areas of the Community, but open to Commuinty members.
  • New photos and albums system: The old photo albums system has received a complete overhaul, and been properly integrated into the profile system. You can now create multiple albums within your profile, each containing multiple images with captions. Edit captions, move photos and upload new images, re-organise albums - all within a familiar interface. The newest photos you add are automatically highlighted in a dedicated box in your profile, to draw them to the attention of other members.
  • Social groups: The Community now supports social groups, allowing members to find others with similar interests, forming groups that can share photos and conversation in special group areas. Any registered member can create groups (e.g. a group for Church musicians, iconographers, members in Australia, etc.), which others can join. Each group has space for photo sharing and its own discussion area.
  • Friends: While the Discussion Community has long supported a Contacts List, allowing members to create a listing of other members similar to an address book, the new system allows for a fully robust friends network. Invite other members to become your friends, at which point their small icon (avatar) appears in the Friends Listing in your profile - and yours in theirs. You can use Member Chat to communicate with friends, invite them to active threads, etc.
  • Tagged threads: Threads can now be 'tagged', that is, given special keywords that group together threads in similar themes, wherever they occur on the system. You can search by tags through the advanced search interface. For the moment, only administrators can create tags, while we finish testing this system; but soon you will be able to add tags to your own new threads, as well as to others' threads.
The above is only a short listing. Many other features have been added - some large and noticeable, others small and behind the scenes - and others will be unrolled over the weeks ahead. These will be announced in this thread in due course.

We hope you enjoy! Again, any bugs please in this thread, so we can work out the kinks that are sure to remain in this early phase of open testing and usage,

INXC, Dcn Matthew

Monachos.net

#2 Linda

Linda

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 42 posts

Posted 19 December 2007 - 12:52 AM

Will we still have the random sayings of the Fathers on the welcome page somewhere? I LOVE that.

It will be interesting and fun learning to get around the new place. :)

#3 Father Anthony

Father Anthony

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 160 posts

Posted 19 December 2007 - 12:55 AM

Looks good Father Deacon!

In IC XC,
Father Anthony+

#4 M.C. Steenberg

M.C. Steenberg

    Former Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,843 posts

Posted 19 December 2007 - 12:57 AM

Will we still have the random sayings of the Fathers on the welcome page somewhere? I LOVE that.


Yes, this will be available again soon. We have had to disable the feature for the moment, as it doesn't work on the new system. However, it is being upgraded, and will soon be brought back into the fold.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#5 Father Anthony

Father Anthony

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 160 posts

Posted 19 December 2007 - 12:58 AM

On second thought, I was just checking my profile, and it looks like my photos are gone. :( So much for happiness with the new upgrade.

In IC XC,
Father Anthony+

#6 M.C. Steenberg

M.C. Steenberg

    Former Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,843 posts

Posted 19 December 2007 - 01:02 AM

On second thought, I was just checking my profile, and it looks like my photos are gone. :( So much for happiness with the new upgrade.


Dear Father, photos previously uploaded in the old gallery still exist on the server - but now in an entirely different system, as the old gallery was fraught with flaws. It will be possible in due course to extract images to the new system; however, it may be just as easier (and far faster) simply to re-upload them yourself on the new system. You'll find it very user-friendly and simple (much unlike the previous gallery!).

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#7 Rick H.

Rick H.

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,231 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 19 December 2007 - 01:05 AM

Dear Dcn. Matthew,

This is very nice. It has a good feel to it. Thank you.

In Christ,
Rick

Edited by Rick H., 19 December 2007 - 11:57 AM.


#8 Father Anthony

Father Anthony

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 160 posts

Posted 19 December 2007 - 02:46 AM

Dear Father, photos previously uploaded in the old gallery still exist on the server - but now in an entirely different system, as the old gallery was fraught with flaws. It will be possible in due course to extract images to the new system; however, it may be just as easier (and far faster) simply to re-upload them yourself on the new system. You'll find it very user-friendly and simple (much unlike the previous gallery!).

INXC, Dcn Matthew

Dear Deacon Matthew,

Might be easier said than done. I will have to find them, but first try to remember which ones I uploaded. You have to remember in my work, I shoot a few thousand photos a year. To make matters worse, they are stored in a variety of drives, DVDs, and online storage.:(

In IC XC,
Father Anthony+

Edited by Father Anthony, 19 December 2007 - 02:47 AM.
spelling


#9 M.C. Steenberg

M.C. Steenberg

    Former Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,843 posts

Posted 19 December 2007 - 04:39 PM

The new system allows every member to have both an 'avatar' and a user profile picture. For those who would like to know how they differ, and how each is used, here is some further information:

AVATARS:

Your avatar is a small graphical image (maximum size of 80 x 80 pixels), associated with your profile. When you become a member of a Social Group, or establish a Friend relationship with another member, this avatar is the image used on those screens to identify you.

An example avatar is my own, which is a miniature icon of St Matthew:

http://www.monachos....2342&type=thumb



If you have not configured your own customised avatar, the system will automatically generate an 'unknown' avatar for use on other members' Friends listing, Social Groups listings, etc., to indicate you. This generic 'unknown' avatar looks like this:

Posted Image



As this is not ideal, do take a moment to configure your own custom avatar. Click on the My Account menu at the top of Discussion Community pages, then select Customize My Avatar. This will take you to a screen in your User Control Panel that allows you to upload an image for use as your avatar - which may be a photo of yourself, or another image file. If the image is re-sizable, the system will automatically reduce it to the appropriate size; else you may informed if the image you attempt to use as an avatar is too large.

Please note that, unlike some systems, your avatar will not appear beside your username on posts in the Discussion Community. This is a deliberate choice of our design, to keep the discussion threads focused on their content.

MAIN PROFILE IMAGES:

Your profile image is an image file that you upload, to take a central place in your member profile. It can be much larger than your avatar (to a maximum of 300 x 400 pixels), and displays in the About Me tab on your profile. This is an image you can use to share a larger single image associated with you - a personal or family photograph, or some other image.

To configure your main profile image, click the My Account menu, then All Settings. This will take you to your main Control Panel, where you can then select Edit Profile Picture to upload an image as your main profile picture.


Added on 21st December 2007: The above material is now available in the Community Handbook, as an entry entitled How do I configure my avatar and profile images?

Edited by M.C. Steenberg, 21 December 2007 - 03:32 PM.
Added link to handbook


#10 Marie+Duquette

Marie+Duquette

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 302 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 19 December 2007 - 06:05 PM

Dear Dcn Matthew,

Thank you and all involved for the Update of the system. Slowly I am perusing it facets.

Will there be an option for the selection a LArge font for easier reading for some of us visually challenged members.

Also I noticed that blue is the color for texts to be read. Will there be a choice of either
blue or black"? Personally,I much prefer black. It is easier on my eyes/

AGAIN THANK YOU


iN cHRIST jESUS AND THE tHEOTOKOS.

marie_duquette

#11 Anna K.

Anna K.

    Regular Poster

  • Validating
  • PipPip
  • 77 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 19 December 2007 - 08:41 PM

Dear Deacon Matthew,

I'm dependant on the feature of posts during the 1, 3 or 7 last days. Now I can't find it? Will we have it somewhere on the front page again? Right now I feel lost...

Otherwise the new features sound very good!

In Christ
Anna K

#12 Anna K.

Anna K.

    Regular Poster

  • Validating
  • PipPip
  • 77 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 19 December 2007 - 08:44 PM

Sorry, false alarm, found it already.
I was just too impatient... again.

In Christ
Anna

#13 M.C. Steenberg

M.C. Steenberg

    Former Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,843 posts

Posted 19 December 2007 - 11:24 PM

Some members may not know of a short-cut for quick access to your new posts. After you have logged in, press ALT+2, and then ENTER. This will automatically select the New Posts link in the Discussion Community menu bar, and take you to the listing of posts and threads that you've not yet read.

(This feature is only available - for the moment - to users of Internet Explorer; the newest version of Firefox seems no longer to support quick keys [though older versions did]. We have not tested the feature on Opera or other browsers.)

Other ways to access new and recent posts:


As ever, there are a number of different ways you can find new and recent posts when you visit the Community. These include:
  • The New Posts link: The New Posts link in the menu bar at the top of forum pages (visible once you've logged in) is the easiest tool to find new materials. It generates a search listing based on your previous reading, showing all threads that contain posts you've not yet read. Simply click on these threads to be taken to new materials.
    • Extra tip: From the 'new posts' listing, click the small green down-arrow just before thread titles, to be taken directly to the first post in that thread you've not yet read - the quickest way to go directly to your own new material.
    • Another tip: If you want to catch yourself up on all posts - i.e., tell the system that you've read everything, even if you haven't, so that the 'new posts' listing is fully caught up and starts anew, click Threads & Posts in the toolbar, then select Mark everything as read. This does just what it says. Your new posts will then be noted from that point forward.
  • Posts from last 1, 3, and 7 days: If you want to see a listing of all posts made within the last few days, whether or not you've already read them, you can use these links to see listings of all posts within the days specified. Simply click the Threads & Posts link in the toolbar, then select the number of days you wish. You'll be presented with a list of threads containing new posts within those dates.
    • Extra tip: When viewing a listing of posts from the past 1, 3 or 7 days, threads containing posts you've already read will be in normal font; and threads containing posts you've not yet read will be highlighted in boldface font - including the usual green down-arrow you can click to go directly to the first post in the thread that you've not yet read.
    • Another tip: On all listings of threads, a right-arrow after the 'Last poster's name will take you directly to the last (i.e. newest) post in the forum - helpful if you wish to jump directly to the newest post in a discussion.
  • Your own posts: If you ever wish to see a listing of all posts that you yourself have made to the Community, click Threads & Posts in the toolbar, then click My posts. This will present you with a listing of all your posts, in reverse date order (i.e. the most recent will be at the top of the listing). You can click on the thread name of any post to be taken to the thread in which it resides; or you can click the linked first line in the post to go directly to the post itself.
These are standard features for finding new and recent posts in the Community. If you wish to find specific posts you can click Search in the toolbar and enter search terms in the drop-down box to search for posts; or click the Advanced Search link in that drop-down box to be taken to the advanced search interface, from which you can search by keyword, poster, date range, replies, tags, or other criteria.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#14 Nicolaj

Nicolaj

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 371 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 20 December 2007 - 12:41 PM

I like it! I like it so much, it is so nice and comfortable for me eyes, who has grown so bad.

Thanks very much to all who realised this great step forward.

In Christ, Nicolaj

#15 M.C. Steenberg

M.C. Steenberg

    Former Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,843 posts

Posted 20 December 2007 - 08:51 PM

One of the main new features of the upgraded system is the albums system. This has replaced our older Member Galleries system, which was a third-party add on which had, as members will be well aware, a collection of limitations and problems. The new system allow for each member to create either a single or a collection of organised albums containing uploaded photos or other images, each nicely re-sized, captioned, ordered and presented. Images can be selected as the 'covers' for whole albums, and album photos can be shared between members, posted to social groups, etc.

An overview of the albums system

You can access your own album in either of two ways. Either click the My Account menu, and then select My pictures and albums, or visit your profile, and click View all albums on your profile albums block.

The main albums interface is the starting point for your albums. Once you've created one or more albums, they will be visible here, in the same way to you as to other members (though there will be extra links visible to you - for uploading new images, adding additional albums, etc.). A main gallery page for a member might look something like this:

Posted Image


This screen displays all your albums, giving each of them a 'cover' image - which is either the newest uploaded image in that album, or a specific image that you dedicate as its cover. It also gives the name you've assigned to the album, as well as the album's description.


Clicking on one of the albums within the collection will take you to a screen displaying the contents of that album. Such a screen will look something like this:


Posted Image


This screen displays the individual album, showing thumbnail (i.e. miniature) versions of all images contained within it (if there are more than 20 images in the single album, they will be nicely paginated onto multiple pages). Holding your mouse over an image's thumbnail reveals its caption as a tooltip. Or, you can click on the thumbnail, to be taken to the full display screen for that image, such as this:


Posted Image


This screen displays the full-sized image, together with the caption you entered when you uploaded the file (and you can edit / update captions at any time). From this screen, you can either go back to the gallery thumbnails to select another image to view, or you can click 'Prev / Next' in the upper right-hand corner to scroll through the images in the gallery.


How to view another member's albums


To view another member's albums, simply view their member profile. If the member has created any albums, a small box will appear towards the right-hand side of their profile, containing 'teasers' of the most recent images in the member's two most recently updated galleries. This box looks something like this:


Posted Image


This box features the two most recently updated albums the member has edited, and shows the most recent image in each. You can click directly on the image to view it in larger format; or click the 'Show All Albums' link at the bottom of the box to be taken to the member's main albums collection (as described above).


How to upload images and organise your galleries


Working with the new albums system is easy and straightforward. If you've not yet uploaded any images on the new system, here's all you need to do:


Click on the My Account menu, and select My pictures & albums. This will take you to your main albums screen, which, if you've not yet uploaded any images, will look something like this.


Posted Image


In the above screen shot, the red circle highlights the obvious link marked 'Click here to add an album and start uploading'. Click this to create your first album - the collection into which you'll upload images. After you've created your album and given it a name and description, you can enter it and click the 'Upload pictures' at the top and bottom of the album's page.

You can upload four images at a time. Once the files have been uploaded, you will be invited to provide a caption for each image. Fill these in with as much detail as you like: members will see your captions as tool tips when they hover over an image, and the caption will display fully beneath each image when it is viewed full size.

Do I need to re-upload my old images?

Regrettably, it has not been possible to import images that members uploaded previously under the old galleries system, into the new albums. This means that yes, you will need to re-upload your images. We apologise for this inconvenience - though we trust that the new system is so far superior to the old, that the hassle will be well worth it.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

Added on 21st December 2007: The above material is now available in the Community Handbook, as an entry entitled How do I create photo albums and upload images to share?

Edited by M.C. Steenberg, 21 December 2007 - 03:30 PM.
Added link to handbook


#16 M.C. Steenberg

M.C. Steenberg

    Former Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,843 posts

Posted 21 December 2007 - 04:10 PM

For those interested in customising their profiles with an avatar, but don't yet have a personalised image to hand, you will notice that there are now a number of default Orthodox avatar images available: click the My Account menu, then Customise my avatar...

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#17 M.C. Steenberg

M.C. Steenberg

    Former Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,843 posts

Posted 23 December 2007 - 11:13 PM

Will there be an option for the selection a LArge font for easier reading for some of us visually challenged members.

In the past we have had an option, configurable from the Control Panel, to select a 'large font' version of the forum layout. This is currently unavailable, as we continue to develop the new layout. However, there is a simple way to accomplish the same thing: Simply increase the view size in your browser.

From Internet Explorer, select the View menu, then Text Size, and set to Larger or Largest. (In IE7, you can also use the magnification toolbar at the bottom right-hand corner of the browser window.)

In Firefox, select View, then Text Size, then Increase.

Or, in either browser, if you use a mouse with a spin-wheel, simply hold down the CTRL key and scroll the wheel to magnify the text on the page.

Using any of these settings will allow you to magnify all the text on the site to a comfortable reading size for you personally.

Also I noticed that blue is the color for texts to be read. Will there be a choice of either blue or black"? Personally,I much prefer black. It is easier on my eyes


The text should not be blue! All text defaults to black. If you're seeing text in blue, I'd be grateful to know precise details, so we can look into this.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#18 RichardWorthington

RichardWorthington

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 283 posts

Posted 24 December 2007 - 08:55 AM

From Internet Explorer, select the View menu, then Text Size, and set to Larger or Largest. (In IE7, you can also use the magnification toolbar at the bottom right-hand corner of the browser window.)


I also like to have a larger font on screen, but having the larger font setting in IE does nothing. On this page the text inside the quotation in your post showed larger, but the normal text (both in posts and information around the screen) remained the same. On other threads (and in this post!) the quotation text size does not change.

Just thought I'd point this out - as a programmer I know how glitches can appear! I know much work is wonderfully going on in the background ...

Richard :)
PS I have just changed the zoom in IE7 - hey this could be useful, thanks for pointing it out! - but you then have to scroll around. I suppose the font sizes are fixed for ease of formatting, and so would be exceeding awkward to change to make it work with the text size option?

Edited by RichardWorthington, 24 December 2007 - 08:59 AM.
Adding PS+comment on text size


#19 Anthony

Anthony

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 609 posts

Posted 24 December 2007 - 02:50 PM

Many thanks yet again to Fr Dcn Matthew for all his hard work. The more I explore the new-look site, the more I have the feeling of being in a luxury hotel (not that that's a feeling I know well, I hasten to add).

I particularly like the idea of the new "social groups". I wonder if Fr Matthew might add a few comments on their functionality and intended use. (I don't, for example, want to divert discussions which would have a legitimate place in the main forum.)

Happy Christmas to all those on the new calendar.

Anthony

#20 Paul Cowan

Paul Cowan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,064 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 24 December 2007 - 05:13 PM

Dear Matthew,

I am deleting chats under my profile page that so I can "clean up" the page. What is the difference between soft delete and flat out deleting something. From what I am seeing, I cannot remove the complete history from my page. I can foresee someone having multiple pages of soft deletes and having to thumb through several pages to find something they kept as important. Thanks
Paul

BTW: I chose an avatar from the stock. I need to find a more personal one as I have time like Herman's.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users