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General Discussion

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

[Poll] What new features do you want to see in the forum in 2013?

There have been quite a few threads on feature requests, so I collected some of the more popular ones.

I figured we can have an informal forum straw poll to see which ones are the most popular features.


  • Sticky Threads
  • Categories
  • Forum Search
  • Marked as Answered button
  • Show Who Replied Last
  • Forum-wide Notification Perferences
  • Voting System of questions/answers
  • Reputation System based on forum activity

21 Answers

Deleted User

Sticky threads: I suppose this could be handy - however, perhaps it should correspond with tags? For example, personally, I wouldn't really want to see sticked posts on PHP.

Categories: I actually like the fact that there aren't any categories. The tags system already acts as a categorizer(is this a word?). The only thing then would be to "require" tags for every new post - which you might not want to do.

Badges: I don't really see the point in this - what would they be for? Perhaps some sort of reputation system would be better, or even a thank you system (thank someone that has tried to help). Normally forum badges work off of post counts - I think it would be better to reward people for helping, rather than posting a lot!

Notifications-on-site: Would be useful for me - maybe a bit much when there is already email notifications though?

Sam

Patrick Serrano
Patrick Serrano
13,834 Points

I'd like to see a reputation system similar to stack overflow.

I'd also like to be able to like or +1 another user's post.

Marked as answered would be another great feature.

Forum search. This is my only wish. :)

Forum search above all else.

Joseph Cahill
PLUS
Joseph Cahill
Courses Plus Student 4,739 Points

I would like to see something that lets me know which forum posts I have looked at, read, and/or replied too.

Preview Post before submit - definitely.

I'm actually fond of the category idea. I feel like the posts are getting a bit unorganized and out of control.

I agree with Joseph on the category idea. It would be nice to have posts organized.

Cheers,

Steve

Joseph Cahill
PLUS
Joseph Cahill
Courses Plus Student 4,739 Points

A mobile app for the forums to ease viewing and replying on the go.

I find myself spending much time on here via my cell phone.

Tommy Morgan
STAFF
Tommy Morgan
Treehouse Guest Teacher

Hey everybody - let me chime in on some of this, if you would.

Based on a lot of the feedback we've gathered so far, our next few steps on the forums are likely going to be (in no particular order):

  • Search - obviously not quite so important at launch, but now that we've got a good quantity of posting going on this is becoming more and more critical.
  • Ability to tag users in your posts - we expect this will be really helpful for having conversations and trying to get the attention of teachers/staff directly, especially when paired with:
  • In-App Notifications - the email notifications aren't a great solution, and aren't even a good solution for some users; we'd like to be able to provide a better experience here for those that want it.
  • Question & Answer functionality - probably our most requested feature. We want to be sure people can indicate that they're asking a question, and people can propose answers in a way that's clear and easy for everyone to follow.

We'll also probably be making/considering some of the smaller UX tweaks along the way (such as showing who last commented on a post), again based on the feedback we've received from everyone so far.

One thing we are pretty committed to is making use of tags for forum post organization instead of dividing the forum up into rigid categories. There are a few reasons for this that I'd like to enumerate:

  1. Functionally, tags are categories are categories are tags. We're not laying them out in a list that you can drill down through, but all of our posts can be segmented based on tags just like they would be segmented in a more traditional category-based structure. The major differences are that tags are less strict (you can create your own tag at any point), and that a post can be associated with multiple tags at once (as appropriate) - both of these strike us as being solid benefits.

  2. Tags will allow us to integrate the forums with our content more easily in the future. While we may not necessarily be considering forum-based badges, we do want to be able to reward people for helping out with questions and issues other students are having with our curriculum - having the appropriate tags on a forum post allows us to do this more effectively than requiring you to pick just one category would.

That said, we'd be glad to hear some of your feedback on why some of you think the tag structure isn't a good fit, and we'll do what we can to incorporate that into our plans for the forums.

Standard caveats: none of the above is set in stone, and it isn't intended to represent the complete list of forum improvements. These are just, at the moment, what appear to be the most important needs for us to address in the forums. They are subject to change as new concerns arise and, like I mentioned above, we would be glad to talk through any of them with you.

Thanks for the post, James, and thanks to everyone for all the excellent feedback we've received so far. My hope is that we'll be able to quickly make significant improvements to these forums and make Treehouse an even better place to learn and collaborate.

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

I think a question / answer feature would be great. Most posts that are actual questions are course-related so being able to select the dicussion topic from a dropdown would be great.

As an example if a question is about JQuery it doesn't have much overlap with yours`. So for posts that are in a question / answer format I think it would be great to have a dropdown where you select one of the dicussion topics. This would make sure that all question/answer posts are correctly tagged.

In terms of forum badges, that was actually a poor choice of title on my part. What I had in mind was reputation system similar to Stack Overflow where questions and answers are voted on and you get reputation accordingly.

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

@Tommy - Thanks so much for letting us know about the some of the upcoming features to the forum.

I've update the original post to include a reputation system for forum activity based on voting for questions/answers.

Tommy Morgan
STAFF
Tommy Morgan
Treehouse Guest Teacher

James: I think we could probably do more to promote our discussion topics over other tags. That's something we'll consider as part of our UX tweaks, I'm sure :) We don't want to require people to select one of our discussion topics, since sometimes you might want to ask a question that isn't really tied directly to some of our content (for example, right now you may want to ask a question about SQL), and we don't want to prevent people from doing that - but we do need to do a good job of encouraging people to use those tags when appropriate.

We are talking through the details on some sort of a reward/reputation/whatever-you'd-like-to-call-it system. I won't make any promises or suggestions about what it's going to look like, and it might not be in the next little cycle of forum improvements... but rest assured that we are working on it :)

David Poindexter
PLUS
David Poindexter
Courses Plus Student 1,690 Points

I'm happy to see a few of my suggestions on the list, but really, the whole list looks like some great nice-to-have improvements. Well done, everyone!

I want to see AJAX or Websockets used a little more so the forum updates in real time. Often when a new question is asked many people will start writing a response at the same time and when you hit submit there are four of the same answers. It would be nice to see answers or at least notifications appear at the top of the screen in semi-real time.

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

Here are 2 more suggestions:

  • Having a list of your forum activity in your profile
  • Being able to follow a Treehouse user so you can see when a user you are following makes a post or starts a new thread on the forums

I'd add threaded discussion to the list of 'nice-to-haves' so you can reply to a specific person's reply, rather than having to just add a comment to the end of the list of replies and then refer back to what the first person said or quote them. As an aside, Chris Coyier over at CSS-Tricks has always had really nice threaded discussion on his site and it makes for much more easily-followed threads - especially when there are a lot of replies, replies-to-replies, and so on.

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

In the meantime before a search function is implemented on the forum, you can use [google's site search](google.com/search?hl=en&q=site:teamtreehouse.com%2Fforum%2F+search)

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

Several features were added earlier today

  • Forum Search
  • A staff badge next to Treehouse employees' names
  • A filter for questions with no replies
  • A featured filter, Treehouse version of pinned posts
James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

@Tommy - So how does the featured & tagging people features work?

Tommy Morgan
STAFF
Tommy Morgan
Treehouse Guest Teacher

James: close but not quite. We haven't released anything related to tagging people yet.

Sean will be posting an announcement shortly about the new stuff we just rolled out :)

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

@Tommy - Ahh mystery solved, a user in another thread linked to my profile, and I thought it was a new tagging feature.

A sticky thread with a 'Forum Rules'