General Discussion

Some questions about Treehouse (including internals) and a few suggestions..

Some questions about Treehouse (including internals) and a few suggestions..

First question (#1): Treehouse profiles pages - public or private? (and how to switch/change modes)

Some people seem to have public profiles and others do not.

You can see this is the forum posts where some people's names are actual real working hyperlinks to their profile pages and some forum posters just have names without any hyperlinks?

Is this a setting somewhere in my/our profiles?

Is there anywhere on the treehouse site that gives a list of all people signed up for Treehouse (what would you call them members? customers?)

I know there would be probably privacy concerns about this, but it could be limited by:

1.) Only being to see the list if people are signed in

2.) Only have their name appear on the list if they choose to "Opt in".

-----Do you have to be "verified" to get a public profile?

Here's the link to the thread that talks about being "verified": https://teamtreehouse.com/forum/get-verified

..in the thread, James Barnett (MOD) 's link to the Facebook document which explains this verification process seems to be broken: https://www.facebook.com/groups/164031216987291/doc/330359703687774/

Personally.. I have tried access my profile page on several other computers and the only way I can do so is if I login, but I'm making up a public portfolio site and I would really love to provide that link to my Treehouse profile page which any potential employee could access.

I really wish there was a tutorial somewhere along the lines of:

"How to use the Treehouse site most effectively"

..with screenshots showing and explaining what all the profile page features do (such a tutorial should have a sticky forum thread -- see sticky thread suggestions below)

Another stupid question (#2): I've been "deep diving" into some of the old forum threads and their is mention of something called "Learning Adventures", but all those old LA links forward to the tracks page: http://teamtreehouse.com/tracks

Has the term "Learning Adventure" been officially abolished? When (day/month/year) did "Treehouse Island" become just "Treehouse" (or "TeamTreehouse") --sometime around 2012, maybe?

Stupid question #3

What about a Treehouse "Certificate of completion"?

According to this thread: https://teamtreehouse.com/forum/certificate-of-completion

...someone named "bettyg" said:

"Hey Team! At the moment we don't issue certificates, but we have plans to in the future..."

Are there still plans in the future for this?

Stupid question #4 Will the forum ever allow uploading file attachments to threads/posts?

Having the ability to post screenshots of some UI strangeness going on would be save a lot of text explaining (maybe not picture = 100 words, but..)

Failing that...

What is Treehouse's "official" suggestion for a third party site to post images that can be linked to in a forum post/thread.

I noticed in this thread: https://teamtreehouse.com/forum/post-a-photo-in-the-forum

..that someone named "Aaron Ackerman" (who has a "MOD" next to his name), wrote: use this site http://postimage.org

Is that constitute an "official" recommendation/endorsement from Treehouse as a company?

Stupid question #5: How does one become a moderator (get a "MOD" next to their name?) Is it seniority -based? Or do you just have to have made so many forum thread/posts before you are considered to be elected to the high position of "moderator"? Do any of the MODs actually get hired by Treehouse (i.e. get paid to be a moderator?)


Suggestion #1 I belong to several programming forums and many of them have certain threads "stickied" (i.e. position at the top of the main forum page...maybe by adding another "tab" to the existing "top of the forum home page" tabs: Newest, Active, Unanswered, Featured, My Posts, Subscribed)

Here's one page I definitely should be a "admin" forum sticky:

https://teamtreehouse.com/forum/what-should-we-startstopkeep-doing-here-at-treehouse

There should also be a forum sticky for: "How to use the forums most effectively"

There should also be a sticky for people to show off the custom work they've done after completing the Treehouse course, including any public portfolio pages they've done (so others can use them as design samples to see what's out there.

Suggestion #2 I understand that there was a time un-sync between the time the Treehouse "points" system was activated and the time where the "badge count" was the primary progress count/keeper.

Of course both now show up on the leaderboard (top section versus bottom section).

However, when you go to one of the library/topic pages, such as: http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-android/sort:oldest http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-business/sort:oldest http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-css/sort:oldest http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-design/sort:oldest http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-development-tools/sort:oldest http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-html/sort:oldest http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-ios/sort:oldest http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-java/sort:oldest http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-javascript/sort:oldest http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-php/sort:oldest http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-python http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-ruby/sort:oldest http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-wordpress

..each page only lists "hours" for completion for each course. Why no points listing next to the hours listing for each course?

Without this you end up having to "drill down" (open up the page for that course) to see how many points you are going to earn if you go through the course to completion.

Since both the "hours" value and the "points" value are (theoretically) both stored on the servers that Treehouse is using can't the library topic pages have both values listed on the line that only includes "hours" now?

Suggestion #3:

I know the forum has a link to that lighbox-ed "MarkDown Cheatsheet", but most other forum support a much wider set of what are know as "bb codes": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBCode

Do you think that the Treehouse forum (as it ever so painfully slowly evolves) will ever support something like these full set of BB codes?

The ones I miss: strikethroughs (for "retrofit" editing of questions as the thread develops - without deleting text which causes confusion) quotes (which some forum put in a special very small text centered/indented with the name of the person quoted included in a special way) emoticon text tags ( ;) ) auto-converted to nice looking emoticon images

I would also be nice to have the equivalent of a "vertical tab"

(where it would insert at least four lines with hard returns, maybe with or without some kind of '********" or '............" to seprating different parts of a multi-part question.

I think a first step in this direction: Most email programs (like gmail) support a form of "auto" html markup (usually mouse driven drop downs which allow mouse highlighted text to have text size, color, etc markup tags to be added in the background.)

...and yes, you could probably use the three ticks combine with 'html' for this, but...

What about if you wanted to have in a single forum thread "black box":

1.) a html formatted explaination of the problem

2.) the code (in a non-html language like ruby or python or objective-c)

3.) followed by --a further set of html formatted lines of explanation about what the poster thins is happening (or needs to happen) or the copy and pasted Bummer! parse error (with coloring/boldness for emphasis).

Right now (AKAIK) there is no way to do this..

Once you have a set of 3 tick marks to "close" the use of one language and "open" the formatting for another language multiple black box sections would be formed (instead of a single black box where different sections could be marked up or formatted, for syntax highlighting in multiple languages).

Suggestion #4:

If one of the end goals of all this Treehouse learning is to get a job,

then using the gained skills to make a personal portfolio page is to be expected,

but say an employee wanted to hire a Treehouse trained person, however first wanted to (quickly) visit/scan at some portfolio pages made up by badged members.

Right now it seems they would have to go to each members public profile page and hope that they include a link.

This assumes they have no trouble finding a list of Treehouse members and no trouble viewing their profile pages (as publicly accessible pages).

Right now both such assumptions are questionable, though, especially in the future employer doesn't have a Treehouse account him/herself.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a sticky forum thread where members could post links to their portfolio pages or github accounts (in one place) to quickly/conveniently showcase their talents/abilities to future employers?

Suggestion #5

.srt (sub-title) files suck.

If you download the videos from iTunes you don't get the srt files included per this thread:

https://teamtreehouse.com/forum/download-srt-files-with-ituns-feed

I, like this the person in this post, have started a "databse" of srt transcript files:

https://teamtreehouse.com/forum/tip-put-srt-files-from-videos-in-evernote-to-quickly-find-answers

I ended up using an old VS.Net-coded database to do so (in my case).

The downside of this...the code and the srt transcript are not "interweaved".

So, yes you can download the project files but it takes a non-trivial amount of time to connect the two back together again.

So why would I bother?

You can't google search the videos for the text typed in the videos

(unless you know a the equivalent of a video-file-type OCR software that is 100% accurate?)

What about people in the 3rd world?

Is Treehouse prejudicial to them participating in the search for knowledge that lead some of them to one day become web developers/designers?

If not, then the .srt files would/will have to be translated the languages used in the third world (like Swahili, maybe?)

........

Oh, and here's the other thing...

What if they don't have an internet connection back home?

Say, someone becomes an exchange student in an English speaking country and their exchange "sponsor" ponies up for the Treehouse premium package.

Then (for whatever reason) the exchange student is forced back to their sub-Sahara African country in a part that doesn't have internet connectivity?

They email Treehouse requesting to be provided with a DVD (or set of DVDs) containing all the MP4 and .srt files?

Do you have such a DVD or set of DVDs lying around to send to them?

(or maybe you would just pony up for a satellite-based cell phone,

including service charges,

which could somehow prove a hotspot for their tribal setting?)

Personally I would be happy with some downloadbale OFFLINE viewable

rich text files (which can be used in Linux, Mac, or Windows)

that have the transcript and the code both nicely formatted so would be human OR

machine searchable (it's pretty easy to convert an .rtf file to .txt file for ascii space delimited indexing).

Maybe it's just my personal opinion, but..

I think Treehouse content shouldn't be just a "learn (get points/badges) and forget".

It should be an ongoing professional resource for those pursing a web developer/designer career, don't you think?

Lastly (of course there's a lastly), I find that with my superslow DSL connection (barely more than an old dial-up connection)

that the edit screen for these forum posts starts going slower the longer the the posts/threads I type in

(this one is over 8 thousand characters without spaces or 10,000 with spaces).

The delay is a palpable 20-30 seconds at this point trying to type.

Is there a size (word/characters) limit to the length of forum posts,

either imposed by the server or from a practical standpoint due to these internet connectivity "lagginess" issues?

Yes I know the workaround would be to type it up beforehand in an offline text editor and paste it in --if there is no limit that the server imposes.

..and yes I know there is value in succinctness. ; )

5 Answers

Privacy Settings

Click the gear in the lower-left corner, then click "Privacy Settings" in the menu bar on the right.

Learning Adventures

Learning Adventures were rename to Tracks some time ago. :)

Certificates of Completion

I'm inferring from this thread that badges are the equivalent of this. I don't know who bettyg is; she doesn't appear to be Treehouse staff (otherwise, she'd have a green STAFF badge next to her name). Maybe she was at one point, and then left Treehouse.

Attachments

I don't think Treehouse will add attachments. Nor would I want it to. The amount of work that Treehouse would have to undertake to implement this wouldn't be worth the effort, and would decrease the time they could spend making new courses for us.

Plus, any front-end designs are better in a pen, and any code for the sake of code can go in a gist. Entire projects can go into a workspace. Images can be placed on Imgur.

Becoming a Moderator

Becoming a mod requires an invitation from Treehouse. :) It's mostly based on your previous interactions in the forums. Mods are volunteers, though we do receive free Pro accounts for the duration of our service.


Sticky posts

Treehouse does have "Featured Posts," but I agree with you concerning sticky posts. I think there are some posts that should always be at the top of the forums because everyone needs to read them.

bb Codes

I believe Markdown is much more semantic than bb codes, which makes it a lot easier to read and understand the source. Additionally, Markdown has a standard, whereas bb code is very loosely organized IIRC. I believe there's a reason why reddit went with Markdown.

Also, quotes do work; you just have to copy-paste them yourself and prefix each new paragraph with a >:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus a hendrerit justo, vel dictum sapien. Maecenas euismod placerat lorem, sed euismod quam pharetra non. Cras aliquam pharetra turpis, nec elementum turpis euismod a. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Praesent sem lectus, tincidunt ac molestie nec, ullamcorper nec dolor. Morbi vehicula pretium mi, non aliquam nisl porttitor et. Proin at congue erat, vitae porttitor est. Vivamus venenatis, diam sed tristique posuere, turpis ligula condimentum justo, sed accumsan erat nisl sed ex. Sed felis ipsum, tempor id convallis pharetra, malesuada vel sapien.

Additionally, strikethrough is supported. Wrap the words you want to strike with tildes: ~~strikethrough~~.

3rd world countries and i18n

What if they don't have an internet connection back home?

I'm not sure that web developers can do a whole lot without a web to use.

Concerning going offline, there are iTunes downloads available, and I believe that's plenty sufficient. Frankly, I'm pleasantly surprised that iTunes downloads are even offered.

Also, have you seen Nick's videos on HTML5 video captions? Those things are a pain to create, and I believe that Treehouse automatically generates them mostly to avoid that process. RTF files wouldn't help either, because of their file format.

(maybe more to come)

Thanks for the comments (and especially the extra Markdown codes).

Hopefully they will started squeezing them (using an 8 point or below font) into the Markdown Cheatsheet (or at least include a link to the full set).

...spend a while searching and finally found it.

The full set of MarkDown codes

(including emojis - only 4, no frowny or angry/ frustration ones):

:smile: :smiley: :smirk: :astonished:

https://teamtreehouse.com/forum/howto-guide-markdown-within-posts

..guess Treehouse members are never allowed to get frustrated (or "vent" using emoji) :smirk:

There's nothing in the Markdown thread about how to make text smaller (except header text)

Oh, and here's some hints for using the block quotes:

They have to be on a separate line

Spacing is important.

There needs to be a space between the right angle brackets and the text that follows.

Note: The line below (called a horizontal rule") is generated

three or more asterisks (or dashes):


You said:

Click the gear in the lower-left corner, then click "Privacy Settings" in the menu bar on the right

I don't have a gear. I have never seen a gear anywhere on the page.

But on other computers I have tried there is a grey strip along the left of the page.

Maybe that's what you mean - but it's blocked by some plugins I'm using on on my Firefox browser.

After searching a while I found that the down arrow caret next to my points color wheel in the top right of my profile page

drops down an Accounts Settings menu,

which has a link to the rather limited Privacy settings page:

[checkbox] Display your real name on your profile

If unchecked, your profile name will be displayed instead of your full name.

[checkbox] Allow everyone to see your profile

If unchecked, your profile will be private and no one except you will be able to view it.

I checked them both - one issue resolved, thanks.


You said:

I think there are some posts that should always be at the top of the forums because everyone needs to read them.

Thanks..hopefully others who read this thread do also!


You said:

RTF files wouldn't help either, because of their file format.

I don't get this remark --is there something wrong with the format of .rtf files?

They've been around for quite a long time and are well understood by most programmers (Windows and Mac).


You said:

Those things are a pain to create, and I believe that Treehouse automatically generates them mostly to avoid that process.

Yes, they might be a little bit more trouble to for humans to create but they are definitely more cross-platform than any other rich text type file I know. Did you have another rich text file format that would be more compatible?

Treehouse is full of programmers!

Isn't there someone at Treehouse who can write some computer code to ease this process.

If everyone is "too busy", why not throw it out to the Treehouse community.

Explain the difficulties and what language options are available to write a program to do the conversion automatically.

You could even make it a contest.

I believe for most computer based difficulties there are computer based solutions.

It's really just a question of time and money.

And if no one internal to Treehouse can do it,

and no Treehouse member at large has any viable suggestions,

maybe it's hiring time after the next round of VC financing.

I heard Lynda.com (one of Treehouse competitors) just recently got some new financing:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/14/investors-put-186-million-into-lynda-com-an-online-tutorial-service/?_r=0:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2015-01-14/lynda-com-raises-186-million-in-funding-led-by-tpg-capital.html


You said:

I'm not sure that web developers can do a whole lot without a web to use.

I disagree.

It's just a matter of time before expanding ground based cell phone systems make everyplace in the world internet accessible [IMHO].

and having a knowledge of HTML/CSS (just like being "computer literate") is only going to work in the favor

of those lucky few in those backward countries that have mastered it

--and in some cases have it home (or hut) schooled taught, even to their children/grandchildren.

I believe the latest version of the one laptop per child laptop, the XO 3.0 tablet, can be charged directly by solar panels, hand cranks and other alternative power sources. http://blog.laptop.org/tag/hand-crank/#.VLspL1dnBbw

That's all you need to write HTML code "off the (electricity) grid" and without a real time connection to the internet,

..while waiting (in between visits) for the matatu (WiFi internet) bus: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303287804579447323711745040

http://www.thenewafrica.info/free-wifi/


You said:

I don't think Treehouse will add attachments.

Nor would I want it to.

The amount of work that Treehouse would have to undertake to implement this wouldn't be worth the effort, and would decrease the time they could spend making new courses for us.

Images can be placed on Imgur.

I'm sorry, but I still would want them.

Here's you argument (carried to logical absurdity):

Treehouse isn't allowed to change, improve, or evolve in any way,

because to do so would cut down on content creation.

In other words:

A man spends all day digging a ditch in the hot sun.

Towards sundown he looks up disappointingly from what little work he has been able to do in the course of a single day

and sees a Caterpillar back hoe with the keys inside one field over.

By your rational/logic even the thought of looking up to see that back hoe

would be a distraction from the diggers "content creation" because

working smarter, not harder is never the way to go!

My view:

There is never ever ever going to be enough time for content creation

if you don't develop better tools to make the work go faster/easier.

I'd rather recommend a fisherman go weave/buy a net than

spend days/weeks/months trying to "teach" a person

a person to be a better fisherman in the ocean by exploring all the ways

to grab a fish as it happens close to the surface.


You said:

Plus, any front-end designs are better in a pen, and any code for the sake of code can go in a gist. Entire projects can go into a workspace.

This is the logic that shuts out content to those newly entering the web development field.

They probably have no idea what you are talking about...

Which "pen" to use? Post in gist, where?

How do you get code out of the workspace (in the cloud?) and integrate (get it working)

with what you already have set up as a beginner HTML page on GoDaddy

(where they've barely figured out what ftp-ing is all about..much less the software

you need to clone just a certain part of a repo or import from a repo directly into Eclipse).

I can just imagine someone trying to work through one of Nick Petit's beginner html courses, having an issue,

posting a forum thread, and having a forum responder post a workspace link and saying:

you'll probably find the code you need in one of my workspace's projects .

The original poster would be like: Huh?!


It takes so much more time to debug what's going on with someone's code

by way of a series of pasted code snippets,

then if they just zipped it and upload it.

Conversely spending post after post in a thread trying to slowly piecemeal

spoon feed a beginner code corrections is so much more tedious

then just uploading a zip file (with all the code in all the modules

full corrected and working).

At least at that point if the original poster has further questions

you know they were able to have the correct code installed (unzipped)

to their computer so further code thread updates can have a mutual starting point.

I know for web developers (versus desktop app developers) it's:

"let's all share everything online all the time."

Then you get 1500 variations of the same code,

doing approximately the same, scattered all around the internet.

So which of these is the just the codebase needed to help a beginner with a particular issue,

without throwing in a lot of other code that is only going to confuse them.

That's the downside of "oversharing"

(and having so many similar bits of code scattered online).

..and here's what you don't see --the code "vampirism".

(where people "participate" in forum threads not by posting,

but by just downloading zip attachments).

If you are searching for a particular code to do a particular thing

then most github and gists are not what you are going to go to first.

Why not?

Wrong, misleading, or insufficient "metawraping".

As a coder you don't always know exactly what code you need

(that is going to work for what if you only have a vague idea you want to do)

The forum thread gives search engine friendly descriptive keywords to help identify

which thread/post might have embedded inside it

the zipped code attachment you might be looking for.

...

Based on that you may take a chance on downloading a zipped attachment

(otherwise probably not unless you are desperate).

....

Forum threads WITH completely debugged and working attachments

from trusted sources (smart coders),

make those threads "value added content".

In other words, I'll take those over a random snippet from StackOverFlow or a bin or a repo anytime.

And for every such downloadable attachment there are many potential forum threads not spawned..

Why not?

...because the attachments not only answer the specific question of that thread

but also provide unique "step thru the code" insights that only code

that can be played with inside an IDE running off a local hard drive can provide.

The fact is that not everyone who is web developer is blessed with a Google Gigafibre speed (over 1 gig a second) connection to the internet/the cloud.

Searching takes longer, cloning a repo takes longer,

figuring out the code you need to make a new project

(composed of bits and pieces) takes longer because

of the philosophy :

it's available somewhere scattered about go here there and everywhere looking for it across all these links/places and don't even think about asking about the "trustworthiness" in the quality of the code.

I say:

just give me a zip I can download from a forum thread/post

(that comes from a source I know I can trust)

and I'll work from there.

I don't have infinite time. No developer I know that is paid for web development ever does..

Uploading images to third party storage places is a pain.

...and what's the guarantee that those image hosting services won't go under

(or just auto delete the image) long after people are still looking at that thread

and need the image in connection with it.

I've seen so many broken links for freebee image hosting services

on programming forums that don't allow image attachments.

Hard drives are (relative) cheap.

You can get a terabyte for under a hundred bucks.

You just have to stop paying AWS cloud prices and get a dedicated server.

I know there is a cost to moving out of "cloud virtual" mode,

but the calculation on Treehouse's part should be:

Do we intend to be around for a while (at least longer than our competitors..)

As always I could go on, but not being party to the way

internal decision making takes place at Treehouse

I would probably just be wasting my time...

By the way..Ryan failed to respond to suggestions 2 or 4.

Suggestion 2:

Why no points listing next to the hours listing for each course on its corresponding library page?

Without this you end up having to "drill down" (open up the page for that course) to see how many points you are going to earn if you go through the course to completion.

Since both the "hours" value and the "points" value are (theoretically) both stored on the servers that Treehouse is using why can't the library topic pages have both values listed on the line that only includes "hours" now?

Suggestion 4:

Wouldn't it be nice to have a sticky forum thread where members could post links to their portfolio pages or github accounts (in one place) to quickly/conveniently showcase their talents/abilities to future employers?

Oh I just finished spending hours and hours searching for every single forum thread about gravatars and I came across this thread:

https://teamtreehouse.com/forum/treehouse-users-api

..so Suggestion #6 is:

Can you please expose (via the Treehouse API) the max points that can be earned on that topic, so a percentage calculation can be made.

Thanks.

On 3rd world countries and i18n

Let me rephrase my point so that there is no confusing it: There is no web development without the web. Think about it. If I have no Internet access, how could I help develop the Internet? Web developers, by the very nature of their name, must be ingrafted into the Internet.

In order to make a WordPress install, I need to download one...from the Internet. In order to install a new gem, or version of PHP, or Python package, or read web design blogs, or read up on the latest version of any frontend framework, I have to have Internet access. Whenever I don't know an answer, I have to Google (use the Internet) it. If I don't want to build out an library for making simple HTTP requests in PHP, I have to Google it to see if one exists. (There does, fortunately, and it's awesome.) And documentation? I need the Internet for that as well.

In order to develop the Internet, you need the Internet. I cannot make that point any clearer.

On top of that, let's step back and investigate at the return of investment. If Treehouse plans to add a certain feature, they need to consider what benefit it will bring to them. They need to eat, after all. There has to be some profit involved.

Treehouse caters to (almost entirely) web designers and web developers. There are a lot of good business courses, and some devops courses as well (Git), but it's mostly those two. So that narrows the field down by quite a lot.

Now, exactly how many people will be in the position you're describing? How many people will be web developers and designers who leave their country as an exchange student, receive a Treehouse account through a sponsor, and then are forced to return to their Internet-less country? That's an incredibly specific description.

So specific, in fact, I believe there might be not more than three or four people in the entire world who have those difficulties, if there are any at all.

Now, at this point, we must ask a question. Is it really worth it for Treehouse to invest any significant amount of money and manpower into catering to these select few? There are tens of thousands of web designers and developers in the world; it's worth it to cater to all of them. That's why Treehouse exists and is returning a healthy profit. Catering to developers going offline temporarily? That's pretty common as well. So Treehouse added iTunes downloads. Frankly, I'm very satisfied with those.

But I honestly can't understand how making DVDs of all Treehouse's courses will help Treehouse or anyone other than three people with very specific needs. Especially as Treehouse's library is constantly changing and evolving.

Will we really ignore the needs of a hundred thousand for the needs of three? We need to keep our eyes on the big picture.

On uploading attachments

One of the most important things to learn for any field are the tools of the trade. In web development, we're talking languages, editors, build tools, preprocessors, frameworks, libraries, dependency managers, ecosystems, plugins, CMSs, source control, hosting, etc. Dozens of different categories of tools there.

You cannot succeed in web development unless you learn its tools.

A person uploading a ZIP archive of their project doesn't work because then I have to download it and open my text editor and web browser and install any dependencies and whatnot. ZIPs also don't work because if the poster is wrong the first time, then he has to spend time fixing it, zipping it, and uploading it, and then the other person has to redownload it. Confusion ensues. It's better for the code to be in a central location.

In a CodePen or Gist, that's all taken care of already. And Treehouse has a video that's in the sidebar of all forums explaining how to use them. I don't see any point in reinventing the wheel here, especially when there are awesome wheels already available for use---and they're free. Part of learning web development is learning how to use web development tools.

Gist seems to be a perfect solution to use in the Treehouse forums. Rather than uploading a ZIP, you'd make a Gist and then link to it in your forum post. You get (pun unintended) built-in source control, an easy way of correcting mistakes, and a central hub for code. You also get the description and walkthrough provided by the forum post that you love so much. Everyone's happy.

Also, Stack is an awesome place to go for answers. They're a little picky, but if you know what you're doing, they're awesome. And unlike how you've described them, the answers are well-documented and explained; they're not just snippets. Even answers from many years ago are constantly updated to make sense.

Onto tools that are more forum-oriented:

Let's take Imgur. Imgur was created as a photo-hosting service specifically for reddit by a redditor. Now, Imgur is used to host photos everywhere, not just on reddit. Again, I ask, why should Treehouse reinvent the wheel by adding photo uploads when a perfectly good solution already exists? We learn to keep our code DRY; why can't we learn to keep our tools that way as well?

Now, again, let's consider the return of investment Treehouse gets by (re)inventing all these wheels.

Treehouse has to purchase additional servers and drives to host and manage uploads. They also have to implement this functionality into their forums. That's a lot of manpower and money right there. You think that Treehouse might hit a terabyte? No, they'll be hitting a petabyte in a month, what with the traffic they get. They'll have to keep purchasing storage and servers to manage the increasing uploads. And once they put out the feature, they have to keep it. It's not like they an delete the ZIPs after they're uploaded.

Keep in mind that all the alternatives to the problems I talked about above (CodePen, Gist, Workspaces, Imgur, etc.) are completely free, and Treehouse doesn't have to do or pay anyone anything for them. And I think those solutions are better than anything Treehouse could implement with limited money and manpower.

That Caterpillar in the next field over? That's Gist.

That Caterpillar in the next field over? That's CodePen.

That Caterpillar in the next field over? That's Stack. Imgur. reddit. Millions of other solutions.

Working smarter means using the right tools. In this case, it's Gist and CodePen and friends.

Treehouse's goal is not to host petabytes of post attachments. Treehouse's goal is to teach web development.

Sticky forum thread for showcasing portfolio

Because the first posters would be the only posters to ever be seen. It's incredibly difficult to navigate more traditional forum sites where threads can reach thousands of posts in length and are paginated at ten posts per page and where you have to remember where that one post was.

Treehouse is not a social platform. It provides credibility to web developers looking for employment, and it's pretty motivating as well. I'm not going to look for a web developer on Treehouse; I'll look for them on LinkedIn. (Again, use the right tools.) If they provide a link to their Treehouse profile, I can see what they've done.

Suggestion #2

Because Treehouse wants you to see, at a glance, how much time it'll take you to complete the course. It's just a design decision that they made, and frankly, I feel that it's kind of nitpicking to complain about such a small issue. I think that the vast majority of Treehouse users would prefer to keep things the way they are.

Laggy forums

Lastly (of course there's a lastly), I find that with my superslow DSL connection (barely more than an old dial-up connection) that the edit screen for these forum posts starts going slower the longer the the posts/threads I type in (this one is over 8 thousand characters without spaces or 10,000 with spaces). The delay is a palpable 20-30 seconds at this point trying to type. Is there a size (word/characters) limit to the length of forum posts, either imposed by the server or from a practical standpoint due to these internet connectivity "lagginess" issues?

This has nothing to do with Treehouse. It could be your web browser or computer that causes this.


Conclusion

In conclusion, I would recommend for you to stand in the shoes of Treehouse and try to see things as they see them. Look at the big picture. Treehouse has priorities, and their core goal is to support web designers and developers just entering the field, as well as teach more experienced developers some new skills. They make some basic assumptions about new users (e.g., that they have Internet access), but those assumptions hardly exclude anybody.

In terms of the forums, I agree that they could use some TLC. I, too, wish for Treehouse to become more of a social platform for designers and developers (including providing a more extensive API). We're already a community, despite the (somewhat) limited forums. Taking that a step further by turning Treehouse into a social platform would be amazing.

:)

(probably more to follow)

Ricky Catron
Ricky Catron
13,021 Points

I wish we could upvote on General Discussion. +100

That too. :D

Oziel Perez
Oziel Perez
61,321 Points

+1 for the "bigger picture" theme of this discussion. Well said by both of you guys in this debate.

You said:

In terms of the forums, I agree that they could use some TLC. I, too, wish for Treehouse to become more of a social platform for designers and developers (including providing a more extensive API). We're already a community, despite the (somewhat) limited forums. Taking that a step further by turning Treehouse into a social platform would be amazing.

At least I got that statement/admission out of one of the Treehouse moderators!

Thanks Ryan!

This thread for me is the thread that made me look around

to find the full set of markdown codes :

https://teamtreehouse.com/forum/howto-guide-markdown-within-posts

Thanks again, Ryan! :smiley:

If no one else takes anything away from this long "discussion",

it should be to keep this bookmarked, as well as:

http://www.emoji-cheat-sheet.com/

Ricky Catron said:

I wish we could upvote on General Discussion. +100

I wish it could be a forum "sticky"..not only because I believe forum stickies are a useful forum feature in general, but also because I have no idea if upvoting actually causes any thread/post to rise to the top of the forum search results.

Oh yeah..and I LOVE to nitpick :blush:

(and I'm not alone --which you'll see if you routinely visit sites which have a comments section).

ping

+1,000