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Thread: New fully-threaded forum view

  1. #1
    Random number herder Norm's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    New fully-threaded forum view

    Apologies for the length of this post; but it is a rather complex subject.

    The forum software we use comes with optional threaded modes for viewing a single thread. But, fully-threaded forum views no longer exist in any of the dozens of modern forum packages. I, like most everyone these days, prefer the linear forum display as it is possible to provide more information, works well with modern devices, and doesn’t force you to view the same post titles over and over. But, there are people that still prefer the old fully-threaded view. So, I thought I would try an experiment. We now have a fully-threaded forum view option. I do not advise it’s use as it is substantially slower and provides less information. But, if you are interested, read on. I’m afraid it will take me a while to get to the description.

    First, let me take some time to explain the current views. There exist three levels. At the top of the pyramid is the forum home, listing all forums. Next are the forum displays, each displaying one forum. At the bottom are the thread displays. I’ll talk to each separately, not in order.

    Forum Home

    Forum Home lists all forums. The last post in each forum is posted, along with the time and last poster. Icons indicate whether or not there are unread posts in each forum.

    • Click on the forum title to display the entire forum
    • Click on the post title to display the first post in that thread that you have not read.
    • Click on the double right-arrow icon to display the last post in the forum.
    • Click on the last poster name to view the posters profile, other posts, or blog entries.
    • Click on the orange RSS button to subscribe to the RSS feed for that forum.

    The main purpose of the forum home page is to avoid the death of forums. Without the last activity info, most members simply get tired of clicking on forum after forum link and scrolling through numerous forums only to find no changes, and eventually just ignore all but a couple of forums. Just because a forum is titled "Australia" does not mean it doesn't contain interesting info for someone in Canada.

    On the right-hand sidebar, you will also find listings of new posts, new threads, and new blog entries, along with additional info. And of course, you can click on New Posts or What’s New to find all threads/posts that you haven’t read.

    Thread Display

    Let’s skip to the bottom of the pyramid. There are three thread display modes: linear, threaded, and hybrid. Linear is the default and most popular.

    In linear mode, the contents of posts are displayed in a linear fashion a bunch at a time. An advantage of this mode is that you can quickly scan through many posts without clicking and waiting for web transfer. Red icons indicate that a post has been read, and green indicate unread. But, you can jump directly to the first unread post.

    In threaded mode, a threaded view is provided with the currently displayed post below. Scroll and click on posts in the threaded view, and the new post will be displayed. There is a wonderful addition. When you click on a post, it is displayed instantly with no Internet access. So, you can click back and forth in a thread with zero wait time. This is due to use of a feature in newer web browsers. When you click on a thread, every post in the thread is loaded into browser memory and hidden. When you click on a post, the browser loads the new post from memory with no communications. The current post title is highlighted to keep you from losing your place in the thread.

    Hybrid mode is a cross between the two. The threaded view is displayed with many posts below it.

    There are two methods of changing the view. Above-right of the thread, click on the Display dropdown and you can change the view dynamically. (You will also note several other thread options.) Or, if you wish, you can change the default view for all threads. You must be logged in to do this. Click on Settings (upper-right corner of the window), then General Settings (under Settings-My Account on the left), then scroll down to Thread Display Mode (under Thread Display Options) and change the default. Then click Save Changes at the bottom of the screen.

    Standard Forum Display

    In the normal mode, when you display a forum, you will see a list of threads. Sticky threads are at the top, followed by all other threads in order of last changed thread. If a post is made to a thread, it is promoted to the top. This solves a major problem in the old forum software. If a post is made to a two-month old thread, it would never be seen in older forums.

    For each thread, you will see: the title, member that started the thread and time of first post, member that last posted the thread and time, thread ratings, replies and views, and icons indicating threads that contain unread posts, hot threads, closed threads, moved threads, and threads in which you have posted.

    • Click on the title to display the thread from the start.
    • Click on the down arrow icon at the left to go to the first unread post.
    • Click on the right-arrow icon at the right to display the last post.
    • Click on the last poster name to view the posters profile, other posts, or blog entries.

    The New Forum Display

    OK, finally I’ll talk about the new format. You must be logged in to change to the new forum display. Click on Settings (upper-right corner of the window), then General Settings (under Settings-My Account on the left), then scroll down to Threaded View for forums (under Thread Display Options) and change to yes. NOTE: I advise also setting threaded or hybrid thread display mode if you use threaded forum view. All combinations of options work. Then click Save Changes at the bottom of the screen.

    Now display a forum and you will find a very different view. Sticky threads are still at the top and denoted by a yellow icon. This is followed by (currently) 14 threads in threaded view. You can view another group of 14 using the buttons at the bottom of the threads. Threads are still displayed in last activity order, not in order of creation as with the older forum software. Red icons indicate read and green unread. Click on a title to display the desired post according to the currently selected thread display mode.

    Note: If you would like a larger font, scroll to the bottom of the screen and change the style to Large Fonts style in the style selector.

    “Read” Posts

    To finish this off, a discussion of what “read” means. In old forum software, post titles were simply browser links. Browsers remember clicked links and change the colors when you have seen a page. This never worked well as browsers tend to forget this information now and again. But nowadays, this method has become quite useless as people have multiple PCs, laptops, visit I’Net cafes, use iPads, and smart phones. People in the forum business expect smartphones and tablets to soon become the major devices used to access forums. Each device has its own idea of what has been “read.” Vbulletin uses a database to determine what has been read, so you can move from device to device.

    However, most Vbulletin members read posts in groups. In the linear and hybrid thread views, many posts are displayed at once, allowing you to quickly read through them. So, VB assumes that you have read all of the posts that have been displayed instead of just those on which you specifically clicked. (Which means not having to click on NT (no text) posts. Of course you can also mark all posts read.

    As always, comments suggestions are welcome. A reminder: I do not advise use of this feature as it is substantially slower and provides less information.
    "I don't think outside the box; I think of what I can do with the box." - Henri Matisse

  2. #2
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    Thanx for the heads-up.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Coyote's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    Midwest-Ohio Valley Area

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    I am a big fan of linear display.

    Thanks Norm
    Life is short so hit it hard!

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