Discussion:What does TaxAlmanac need?

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Discussion Forum Index --> Tax Questions --> What does TaxAlmanac need?


Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
What improvements does TaxAlmanac need? What would you make better? What is it missing?

Here are a few examples to get the discussion started:

  • Spell Check
  • A better way to navigate in the discussions so you don't have to go back to the list each time
  • Additional content - what content is most important to add?
  • Ability to categorize discussions without them sorting to the top of the list
  • etc.

Let me know what you want!

Thanks!


- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 10:26, 19 January 2007 (CST)

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
A handy link to all forums would be nice. I usually click Home and then click Tax Almanac on my bookmarks file. Also, your 4th suggestion would be nice, too.

Beengel (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
I'd love some kind of a marker that allows me to flag a discussion for followup reponses. Maybe a save as favorites or an email automated notifier when a response comes in to that discussion.

But hte board is great, I've learned so much, and it is my own little addiction to read these daily. So thanks for your work!

Roxnpa1040 (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
Your #2 is much needed-I know i mentioned that last year. Also, the little box that we check at the bottom of our reply "Watch this discussion" doesn't seem to have any effect or affect? Plus, I have to refresh the page myself to see updated replies. Outlook express refreshes itself, can't Tax Almanac?

1040man (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
Beenge: Have you ever noticed the check box below labeled "Watch this discussion". If you check it you will receive an E-mail that something has been added to the discussion. Roxnpa: The "Watch this discussion box does work!

Will (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
Anyone that is as challenged in spelling as I am should be using Firefox. I swear buy it. Spell check on any text box that is loaded into the browser...

On Tim's short list #2 is most needed IMO. Also, another site that I follow daily has a 300 second refresh timer built it which is nice. The graphic on the 'Tab' header changes and I know I that that Tab has new information to be reviewed.


William Price, EA | Portland, OR - Talk to me

Pegoo (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
How about using a 3rd party forum script? www.vbulletin.com = very robust

Uncle Sam (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
How about a conference for non-practitioners - so anyone wishing to answer their issues can do so and it wouldn't interfere with the practitioner subjects.

But it should be made clear that this is NOT a homework solution board, or a help-me-do-it-myself forum.

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
Thank you for all the comments - keep them coming!

Also, in regards to the handy links to all forums, take a look on the left column under the sponsors section... Will that work?


- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me

PGattoCPA (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
Will: Re-read your post. Do you see the irony and limitation of spell checkers? ("buy" v "by") <VBG> Or should we add a grammer checker to the request list?!?


Tim: Format / edit buttons on the page when creating (or responding to) a post. As of now one has to post and then go to edit to see the buttons OR know all of the formatting codes. I think this may be on your list already from discussion in the Feedback forum.

Will (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
ahahah, yes, please add a grammar checker. If it wasn't for my nifty spell-checker though, your miss-spelling of grammar would have sailed right by me...:)


Will

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
The thing just feels cumbersome, compared to any other forum I've been a part of. They all use a similar style engine which makes moving around and posting and watching threads rather easy. Here...it's just...slower, non-intuitive...which I've presumed was due to the Wiki aspects of it. I've never been part of a Wiki thing before, so have no basis of comparison. But if you compare other boards with this one, you'll immediately know what I mean.

PJLCPA (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
Tim: First off, great job on what you already have! I love to come here and see that others have some of the same problems that I do. (some even have more!). When I come here, I don't even look at the home page, I go right to the discussions. Sometimes people will post a link to "breaking news", and I find this helpful. As we get into busy season, I like the sites that have just a few word title of latest "breaking news" that I can link to if it is something in my area. If the home page was more current, and concise, that would be GREAT! (I know, I know let's see how much more work we can put on your plate......)

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
Will - miss-spelling? Paste that into dictionary.com and see what you get.  :)

JR - Agree. I guess it's just the nature of Wiki.

PGattoCPA (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
Will: too-shay!!!!!

Will (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
Deback: Hey, if there is no red line under it, I'm posting it!! lol

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
I wish the carriage returns would work all the time. Sometimes, they work, and sometimes, they don't. I always hit the CR (Enter key) twice for paragraphs, but I usually have to hit it three times for it to work right.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
He he.... yes, the spell check. I've had some whoppers.

PGattoCPA (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
Reminds me of the OLD joke. Woman knocks on door and little boy answers.

Woman: Hello young man. Is your mother home? Boy: No, she ain't home. Woman: Why young man, where is your grammar? Boy: Oh, she's in the kitchen baking cookies.

The way this is diplayed in TA highlights the carriage return problem mentioned above as well. I did not hit CR twice purposely.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
I, the man who cannot stop writing, is coming up almost blank. I do wish I did not have to log in again after being out from 11:30 until 1:15 today, and I do wish some wonderful person could somehow index discussions more like the tree type index I find in my cookbooks. You know: Eggs and then inddented Benedict, Boiled, Deviled etc, but lately I've tried my hand at categories [Bless Deb for making me realize how needed it is] and find often it is hard to pin them down. I too wish the CR would always work and the type easier to format. I can never remember if ' means bold or italic and how to bring it about. I don't mind the DIY people; it is frustrating sometimes but sometimes it is rewarding. Finally, I just wish it weren't so darn addictive.

PJLCPA (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
One other thing....What if there was a heading with who the original post was from? That way if you only want to answer "professional" questions, or you only want to answer "DIY" questions, you could. Sometimes I think that the posts for DIY go into too much detail....we want to give a full and complete answer...

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
That is a great idea, PJ! Also, we have so many discussions that begin one place, seem to be petering out and then someone asks a new question and we end up with 60 or 70 answers. Tim did explain how to edit and create a new question, but do you think I can remember. It would be nice if there was an OT block to check in each discussion block, a way to say 'my contribution is Off Topic, like a joke or personal thought.'

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
And the expressions would be so much easier if I didn't need to remember, which I don't: "33&^%" to make it do something. It'll be interesting to see what that pops up! How about a button for bold, underline, etc. And where the heck do we get some smilies and swords and fireballs and stuff? Just because most of you are boring doesn't mean the rest of us shouldn't have some expressive toolage.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
>>"Tim did explain how to edit and create a new question, but do you think I can remember."

Or have the time to split messages....

Right now, I'm taking time messing around here, when I should be working. One of these days, real soon, I need to get my priorities straight.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
Thanks, Tim, for adding the links at the left. Now I just have to scroll down past the advertisement to get to the All Forums link, instead of the normal two clicks. It's usually quicker to click All Forums than click the Back button on my mouse.

LH2004 (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
Get the Code up to date. Regs would be nice.

I'd love it if there were nice, indexed, complete sets of rulings, PLRs, tax treaties, state laws...

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
Evidence of boring.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
Thoughts while waiting for the Philadelphia Revenue Department's one assister to pick up the phone: I had to check edit to see how Deb 'real sooned' her words. My first try is bold Italics then I dropped an apostrophe. Do you know how many times I have printed Tim's FAQs only to lose them. I am sure when I open Martha Hutchins' file the next time a copy will pop out. I did start a separate folder of items from here, and blue, not manila, but do you think I can find it.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
I was able to memorize this a day or two ago, when I finally took the time to go to the Help page and study it for more than a second.


  • Use 2 apostrophes for just italics.
  • Use 3 apostrophes for bold.
  • Use 5 apostrophes for bold and italics.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
>>I am sure when I open Martha Hutchins' file the next time a copy will pop out


LOL. About 22 years ago, I lost a set of W-2 forms for a GM employee. I looked all over, in other clients' folders, and never found it. I had to call my client and ask him to request a copy of his W-2 form. He did that (and is still coming here). The next year, I found his W-2 forms in another client's folder. This is probably my #1 worst nightmare during tax season. One other time, I lost someone's whole folder. I found it after desparately searching all over--behind the file cabinet where I keep my "pending" metal baskets. I guess I didn't quite get the folder in the basket and it fell behind the cabinet.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
In my basement processing room in Valatie NY, on April 15, 1999 the two women copying extensions lost my client's 200,000 check to California for his extension! After 45 minutes they found it, attached to his Federal extension which needed no check and was in an envelope for Fresno, luckily unsealed. The one said to the other, "Donna, we would have had to work for David forever for nothing to make up for that." I told them I was on the verge of calling the State Police to send a matron to take both of them upstairs to the bathroom and strip search them!


Real soon I am going to get serious around here, as soon as I finish preventing this one idiot from going to jail or losing his license.

PGattoCPA (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
>> I do wish I did not have to log in again after being out from 11:30 until 1:15 today

D&T: It's probably your browser settings because the only time I am logged out is if I purposely clear the cookies in the browser. For example, it's probaly been two weeks since I've had to log back in to TA. Here is what I think you need to do:

1) When you first log in remember to check the "Remember me" box.

2) In your "Preferences" area of TA, in the "User Data" page in the "Change Password" section at the bottom, check the "Remember across sessions" box.

3) In your browser settings tell it to NOT clear cookies upon exit. It's probably located in the Tools menu under Internet Options and Security.

One or all of these may fix your problem.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
I'd not seen the Remember across section before. Oddly for about 5 weeks I never had to log in, then about November 1st it began again. Thanks so much, PG

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
Same's been happening to me, regularly. Will now do as Sr. Gato er Gatto suggests and see what happens. Gracias in advance if it works.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
I would like professionals to not be able to post until they complete their profile so we all know we are talking with other professionals and not giving out free advice to "DIY'ers".

I agree with Uncle Sam (above) that non-professionals should have their own forum where we could choose to view or not choose to view.

I want to help people in this business because they will help me at sometime. I don't want to help people who have no intention of helping me.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
Kevin: several of our people have acquired clients from here, DIYers impressed by the knowledge they read. I believe Sandysea has, for one. I know I had a message and a follow-up telephone call but since he was too far away, we could not get together. I do agree profiles should be filled in, and I think there should be a block where the subject checks if h/she is a non-professional. Maybe the moderator should be given the power to hold a question in abeyance until a profile is filled in. I have seen some really dumb questions from people, without profiles, who begin "I have a client." Insurance client? Investor client? Maybe a barber for all I know.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 19, 2007
For blank messages, after I delete the top line in those messages, I would like them to not appear in the All Forums view. There are currently two messages like this. They no longer show in the Tax Questions and Accounting Questions views, just the All Forums view.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
Death2Taxes, I understand that a client relationship may come up once in awhile, but if someone is going to ask an involved question, we should also have the ability to decide how much research WE want to do to answer the question. I for one don't memorize code sections, but can look them up when needed. This may take me several minutes. If I know a person is really interested or it would be really helpful, I will take the time to look it up for them. If I think this is just "John no-Dough" who hasn't taken the time to fill out a profile because they are masking that they are really a DIYer, I may choose to give them a shorter "Yes" or "NO" answer.

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
What does it need Tim? Hugs and kisses today....:)

PJLCPA (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
LOL Sandy....I was just going to respond "4 aspirin, and call me in the morning".....it's been a long week!

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2007
You are telling me???? This week has been full of misery...hehehe

PGattoCPA (talk|edits) said:

20 January 2007
JR1: Rather than a Spanish / Mexican cat (Gato), I am an Italian cat (Gatto). Actually, worse, I am a Sicilian cat.

So, rather than "gracias", "grazie" will do!


BTW, Prego (You're welcome)

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

20 January 2007
Signore Gatto: my grazie for your suggestion #2 about preferences above. So far, so good!

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 20, 2007
D&T: You know I am crossing my fingers!!!


- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 12:51, 20 January 2007 (CST)

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

20 January 2007
Just now I disconnected the cable modem to take the laptop upstairs to try the City of Philadelphia's software on another printer......that was not a success, but when I plugged the cable back in, and booted up, I was still signed in.

Will (talk|edits) said:

20 January 2007
Hi Tim,

What do you think about PJL's idea about putting another column in the forum showing 'Original Poster'?


Will

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 20, 2007
D&T - Disconnecting the cable modem doesn't delete the cookie file for this site.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

January 20, 2007
Finally, my connection has stayed on for 18 hours. I did what Senore Gatto suggested on the TA part, check the box about remembering across sections...and one other thing in IE, but not the cookie one. Stay tuned. (Hoping I stay tuned...)

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

20 January 2007
Well, for a better test to see if the Signore was right, I will turn the laptop off and let the Samsonite gorillas pound it around for a bit, take it down to the bay and dunk it, then see if I am still logged in.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

20 January 2007
I agree wholeheartedly with Will.

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 20, 2007
Will:

There are things that I can do on my own, and there are things which need programmatical changes for. Adding the list of discussion forums to the left column was something I could do. Unfortunately, adding the original poster to the discussion forum listings is something that would require engineering changes (due to underlying database issues). Because of this, I'll have to add it to the enhancement list. I think it's a good idea though.


- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 14:03, 20 January 2007 (CST)

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 20, 2007
OK, here's the list I have so far...

Content

  1. Update the Code - Updates to incorporate the Pension Protection Act of 2006 are scheduled to begin shortly.
  2. Add Treasury Regulations - We have Treasury Regulations, but they need to be updated.
  3. Add other content, such as indexed complete set of Rulings, PLRs, treaties, state laws, etc. - We have started to do this, see Tax Research Resources, but we need your help to add more. See Content Team.

Forum Enhancements

  1. Add handy links to all forums - DONE! See the list below the ad section in the left-hand column.
  2. Add a better way to navigate in the discussions so you don't have to go back to the list each time
  3. Add a spell check feature - See Discussion:Spell Check Feature for interim solution
  4. Add "Stealth Edit" - Ability to categorize discussions without them sorting to the top of the list
  5. Add ability to flag discussions for follow-up / favorites / email reminder, Watch this discussion doesn't work / Refresh - This works, but I think it is a feature that most don't really understand. I'll put together something to describe how this works soon.
  6. Less cumbersome forum interface, perhaps use third-party forum software
  7. Add a non-practitioner forum
  8. Add format buttons when posting or responding to a discussion
  9. Add links to breaking news
  10. Add a column for the Original Poster in forum listing
  11. Add an easy way to split a discussion thread in two
  12. Add fun, advanced features such as smilies and swords and fireballs and stuff
  13. Restrict posts if user page not filled out
  14. Add ability to delete blank discussions
  15. Add a topical index of discussions

Misc.

  1. Make Main Page more current, concise
  2. Figure out why carriage returns act funny - See Help:How to start a new line
  3. Fix frequent login issue - DONE?
  4. Make TaxAlmanac less addictive - Sorry, I don't think we are going to be able to do this one!  :-)

Did I get everything? Any more suggestions?


- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 15:08, 20 January 2007 (CST)

PGattoCPA (talk|edits) said:

21 January 2007
Tim: Two more suggestions:


1) Does the wiki support making links open in new windows by default rather than moving the user out of TA? Right now I have to remember to right click on the link and choose "Open in New Window" to do so.


2) The "More" links when going to earlier or later pages do not work the same. I.e., the "more" link that goes to older discussion pages goes 10 pages at a time; however, the "More" link that goes to the new pages only backtracks one page at a time. WHne you want to go back because you went to fast you basically have to start all over by opening Tax Questions all over again to get to the first page and then move forward again. Otherwise you may have to click the backward "More" link up over and over again.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 21, 2007
Tim - Your answer, "If you really want to start on a new line, press enter twice, leaving a blank line between the two lines of text" does not always work, and that is what I was referring to. Quite often, I have to press enter three times to create a blank line between paragraphs. When two "Enters" don't work (about 50% of the time), and I have to press Enter three times, the message will end up with two blank lines between the paragraphs. I haven't been able to figure out why pressing Enter twice doesn't always work.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

21 January 2007
I've tried Entering twice also and it hasn't worked. Thought I just didn't understand the instructions

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

21 January 2007
I agree with Deb and BL; works less than half the time if that.

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 21, 2007
I just saw a post of Deb's on another topic, so I know you're not making this up now.  ;-) I agree that it looks like a bug.


- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 16:40, 21 January 2007 (CST)

Corptaxhelp (talk|edits) said:

January 22, 2007
I always read from the 'Discussion_Forum_-_All_Topics' view. That way I can easily follow topics in multiple categories at the same time. Unfortunately, I can't see in which genre the question is asked until I click the link.

Would it be a good thing to add another column to the 'Discussion_Forum_-_All_Topics' list that displays the forum?

Also, could you time-stamp the posts as well? Right now there is just a date. It would be easier to find my place if I could jump into a topic and see what has been posted since, for example, noon.

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