Discussion:We need a better board

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Discussion Forum Index --> TaxAlmanac Feedback --> We need a better board


Bushmaster (talk|edits) said:

6 August 2008
This site is way too cumbersome. I know this has been discussed before, but we need some improvements.

1. I just got a message from someone who signed his real name and I don't know who in the hell it is. In case you are reading, I am close by Fayetteville.

2. The personal message system stinks. Why can't I just click "reply" and send them a return message?

3. When I press return 2 times, why does it show up on the next line and not double space.

4. Can we get automatically sent to the last read message?

5. How about a pop up that shows you have new messages?

6. How about a button to click when you want to quote a message?


Insert your other improvements suggestions here below.

94nole (talk|edits) said:

6 August 2008
You could probably have all of this for a $149/year membership fee.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

6 August 2008
Bush, the message was from SouthparkCPA - not sure why you can't read the history tab for your discussion page?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

6 August 2008
I'm moving this to Feedback - tax questions has nothing to do with this post, and Tim won't even see your comments there

Bushmaster (talk|edits) said:

6 August 2008
94nole, there are plenty of free boards that offer all of that and more.

Trillium (talk|edits) said:

6 August 2008
1. Kevin already addressed - read the history to find out who has edited the page.

2. While you're in the history, click on the username of the person you want to reply to (if they've signed the message with their user name, just click on the link there). Go to their discussion tab, click to leave a message. It's not that tough, and doing it this way means no need for the developer to program a different "script" for "buttons" that rarely get used. Keep the source code lean, and things tend to work. Get all fancy, and things tend to break.

3. Press return 3 times for a double space. Or put in a bunch of dashes to actually get a line displayed across the page. Your "why" question is answered here - one of the many helpful pages on formatting and editing linked from the FAQ.

4. If you've got cookies enabled, you should see a color difference in read vs unread messages.

When I come back to the site, there's a definite color pattern (even if some "newer" ones show as read, as they're continuations of older threads, there are enough unread that I can recognize where I left off). Or if you have a special interest in that one "last read" thread, use bookmarking (click "bookmark this page" at top of page) - then it'll show up in "my bookmarks" (well, yours!) next time you sign on.

5. No pop-ups! A message does come up, in a different color if I remember correctly, at the top of the page. Caught my attention.

6. No quotes! The message boards that make it easy to quote end up with more quotes than responses in the later posts. Yes, there are some times that quoting a part of a post makes your response clearer, but highlight, copy, and paste is so quick and easy, I'd just as soon have people doing that when absolutely necessary, rather than clicking a button so I have to read again the very same thing I've already read.


Sorry, I guess I disagree with each of your six items, and with your conclusion that the board is inadequate.


I do think there are other things that could be done to increase usefulness - like adding the "Tax Almanac - the free online tax research resource and community for tax professionals" logo on the user signup page, since many people arrive at the site, sign up, and ask a question, never having clicked on the Main Page to see it there; doing even more to make searching the most obvious first step for new users, and adding the ability to limit search results by date (e.g., search last two months only); limiting the length of user names (or the # of characters between spaces in the user name) so the board format isn't as likely to get messed up; and maybe color coding the dates of posts so it's easier to tell when two-year old threads get bumped (2006 and 2008 look way too alike!)...

But I don't feel like any of the items on my wish list are big issues - they're just things I'd like to see in the continuing evolution of the board.

Harry Boscoe (talk|edits) said:

21 June 2009
Is it *not possible* to start a new line without double-spacing? Like, when I want to make

a list of things down the left margin they get moved to *where I did not put them* which isn't helping me write what

I

want

to

write

where

I

want

to

write

it

...

1. I'm not a klutz 2. This makes me think I am 3. That's not nice 4. Can you do something? 5. I think not.

Trillium (talk|edits) said:

21 June 2009
Harry - see this explanation for why the line spacing works the way it does.

Also, as to the implied question in your last "line" (of numbered list items), you'll be interested in FAQ #10, here: 10: How can I change the formatting of my posts?. Have fun!

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

June 21, 2009
The problem is that this is frozen in Wiki for whatever reason. Tril, seriously, ever spend any time on any other forums? They're so much nicer and easier to use, and basically all familiar. This one stands alone as the weirdo. Nothing personal.

Harry Boscoe (talk|edits) said:

21 June 2009
"...see this explanation for why...." Already been there, looking for "why it is" but only found "that it is" without much "why it is".

Trillium (talk|edits) said:

21 June 2009
Good point, JR; I don't spend nearly as much time on other forums as I do here, and I've probably also lost track of how many wiki-tricks I've learned and now take for granted that maybe weren't so intuitive to start out with.

But underlying the tone of my August 08 response above is that it seems to me we're pretty lucky Intuit was willing to shell out the bucks to start this thing up and provide a place for this amazingly strong community to grow, plus I like the fact that the site is user-manipulable to a certain extent, whereas other board formats would need more constant programmer-type attention for minor evolutions. Sure, this could be misplaced loyalty, and lack of familiarity with what else is on offer. But Intuit must have done something right, because the quality of the participation here is mega-bounds over any other tax site I've tried out, including Intuit's own ProSeries and Lacerte forums (which share a very strange user interface/functionality, IMHO). And a lot of what people "wish" they could do here, they can do, it just takes a wiki-trick or two.


Oh, and PS to Harry - you have to make sure that the symbol (asterisk or pound sign) is at the very start of the line, not after a word. And it doesn't work on the very first line of your post; guess they figured there'd generally be a regular sentence preceding the list of items.

Trillium (talk|edits) said:

21 June 2009
Harry, just saw your new response. The "why it is" is because the system is trying to eliminate unnecessary line breaks caused if people press enter when they reach the right side of the screen (like it says, those people must be holdovers from the typewriter age!). Those forced line breaks in the middle of sentences would mess up the formatting for others if they were allowed to carry through, so they're ignored.

To give you an analogy, think of the problems you have when you copy a block of text out of a pdf and paste it into word. Unless your page sizing and font size are both exactly the same as what was used to create the pdf, you're going to end up with little stubs of lines interspersed with the normal page-width lines, interfering with readability. (Same thing happens with many e-mail programs when you reply to a message and the old stuff gets indented - you end up with lots of stupid two-word lines because it doesn't re-wrap for the new page size.)

What the programmers here have done is force the line wrapping to occur, since most of the time that's going to end up displaying the text properly. Sure, some of the time it means things get wrapped we didn't want wrapped, but the wiki-apologist in me says "that's why we've got both the preview button and the edit tab."

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

June 21, 2009
Excellent points, Tril. Yes, constant moderation/running is necessary, where here, we are free to correct and delete as we go. And of course, huge huge thanks still to Intuit for this. We should never fail to appreciate that. Thanks for the reminder.

Harry Boscoe (talk|edits) said:

21 June 2009
Considering what is tolerated in *content* it's very easy to overcome the *format* quirks...! A toast to all involved.

p.s. I 'sperimented with the "#" sign and of course everything you say is true.

Doug-tax (talk|edits) said:

22 June 2009
I don't like the way the search box works on the site, so I use google instead. Simply go to google and enter your search term followed by "site:taxalmanac.org"

I find you get much better results that way.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

22 June 2009
hey that's a cool trick! I honestly never had thought of using Google on only one site!

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