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View Full Version : Read Only Not a Good Compromise!



mlissner
October 3rd, 2008, 06:34 AM
I'm not sure what new features have been added in the new version of the forum, but I have to say that I really do not like the read only feature. The wealth of this forum is in the information contained in the old posts. With the change to read only in these posts, I am CONSTANTLY finding threads that are useful, and that I would like to reply to, but I can't.

What's more, I know I have a lot of threads out there that never came to a good conclusion. Now I know they never will. Occasionally, in forums where things aren't read only like this, answers will eventually come, or others with similar problems will join together.

This change is huge, and I have to say officially that if it can be reverted, it should be. Feature upgrades are nice, but losing the capital of a forum...that's terrible.

lisati
October 3rd, 2008, 06:39 AM
There was an upgrade to the forum software a few months back, and many older posts slipped into "read only" mode at that time.

LaRoza
October 3rd, 2008, 06:42 AM
The Archive is old and from previous versions of vBulletin. Any topics that are still valid can be redone with a link to the original thread in the open forums.

mlissner
October 3rd, 2008, 07:33 AM
Yeah, I read that vBulletin was upgraded. I tried to live with it for the past few weeks, but it's really killing me. Every time I find a useful thread, that I can answer, or one that addresses a problem I have, the conversation is OVER. I can't add to it, I can't reply to it. It's gone. It keeps happening over and over to me.

I know that linking is the thing to do now, but we're still losing here. For example, if I have a thread that is unanswered, and somebody with the same problem comes along and links to it, reposting the problem, I'm still out of luck. I won't know they've reposted. The entire chronology of the entire forum has been damaged - and we seem to be OK with this?

I looked at the update docs, but I don't see how those outweigh the cost of putting a rift in the timeline of the forums.

OK, OK, so that's why I'm upset. So, is there any hope of fixing this? It's obviously a huge problem, right? We're a bunch of computer people - we can fix this. This update isn't making all forums everywhere read only, right? vBulletin would be out a lot of customers if that were the case. So why is it happening here?

p_quarles
October 3rd, 2008, 07:46 AM
OK, OK, so that's why I'm upset. So, is there any hope of fixing this?
It's not broken.


It's obviously a huge problem, right? We're a bunch of computer people - we can fix this.
I don't know where you are getting this. The lock on that section is by design.


This update isn't making all forums everywhere read only, right? vBulletin would be out a lot of customers if that were the case. So why is it happening here?
No. The archived section was manually locked. It was locked because the software update added functionality to new posts, not because the software forced the old section to be locked.

Look, it's pretty straightforward: the archive was locked because the posts there are largely out of date and either long since solved or forgotten. People kept posting there current questions there, which was counterproductive since people looking to provide answers weren't looking there. It was an attempt to keep things clean enough to be usable.

I'm sorry that you don't like it, but it's not a mistake nor a bug.

overdrank
October 3rd, 2008, 07:46 AM
Yeah, I read that vBulletin was upgraded. I tried to live with it for the past few weeks, but it's really killing me. Every time I find a useful thread, that I can answer, or one that addresses a problem I have, the conversation is OVER. I can't add to it, I can't reply to it. It's gone. It keeps happening over and over to me.

I know that linking is the thing to do now, but we're still losing here. For example, if I have a thread that is unanswered, and somebody with the same problem comes along and links to it, reposting the problem, I'm still out of luck. I won't know they've reposted. The entire chronology of the entire forum has been damaged - and we seem to be OK with this?

I looked at the update docs, but I don't see how those outweigh the cost of putting a rift in the timeline of the forums.

OK, OK, so that's why I'm upset. So, is there any hope of fixing this? It's obviously a huge problem, right? We're a bunch of computer people - we can fix this. This update isn't making all forums everywhere read only, right? vBulletin would be out a lot of customers if that were the case. So why is it happening here?

Hi and as I understand it, the forum was upgraded for security reasons. The forums were archived due to resources so if you have a issued that is not solved then you can make a new thread and link the old one for reference for things that you have attempted to correct the issue.

Edit p_quarles has beaten me again. :)

mlissner
October 3rd, 2008, 08:43 AM
Huh. This seems so much less usable to me now than it was previously. Rewriting threads takes time, and breaks apart topics into two threads (one in the read only section, and a new one). I agree that a lot of threads are out of date, but I'd wager that the vast majority of them aren't.

My understanding of good forum manners is to do the following:
- Search for your problem
- If you find a thread about your problem, great, then:
- If the thread answers your problem, you're done.
- If the thread does not, you subscribe to the thread, or add your additional details to it.
- If you don't find something about your problem, post it as a new thread.

This is no longer the usage pattern though. The new one is:
- Search for your problem
- If you find a thread about your problem, great, then:
- If it answers your question - done.
- If it doesn't answer your question, post a new thread. Forget the current one. It's an orphan.
- If you don't find it, post a new thread.

This seems pretty weird to me to be breaking people and problems apart. The beauty of the first usage pattern is that people with the same problem are linked together. Solving one person's problem solves both people's problem. The current implementation does not.

Sorry to be questioning the authority of the forum masters - I know you are wise, but this has caused me undo work several times now, and I can't see the advantage of creating new threads rather than consolidating problems.

Tell me to shut it, and I suppose I will, but I hope this doesn't keep happening as new versions come out. It will definitely erode usability and popularity of the forum.

EDIT: I should add that I have 162 threads as of now. It is quite frustrating to think that almost NONE of those will ever be answered because of a design decision.

Canis familiaris
October 3rd, 2008, 02:23 PM
One thing I can't understand How do the Community Cafe old threads be still alive? I mean how were they converted?

p_quarles
October 3rd, 2008, 02:29 PM
One thing I can't understand How do the Community Cafe old threads be still alive? I mean how were they converted?
The existing threads in the main support areas were all archived at the same time as the introduction of the tagging and prefix features. This was designed to make full use of those features where they mattered.

The "community" areas did not make use of the prefix feature, so old threads in those areas were not archived.

cyberdork33
October 3rd, 2008, 02:32 PM
This seems pretty weird to me to be breaking people and problems apart. The beauty of the first usage pattern is that people with the same problem are linked together. Solving one person's problem solves both people's problem. The current implementation does not.This relies on the assumption that similar symptoms are a result of the same issue. I have found that this can very well not be the case, and that assuming such can in itself be problematic in determining a solution. This is even further removed if the post you are trying to 'add' to is old...


but I hope this doesn't keep happening as new versions come out. It will definitely erode usability and popularity of the forum.I disagree. It was a welcome change. I was tired of having to police the archives where people were asking questions in old threads that were not related, and have to point them to the new forum where someone would actually see it and maybe even point them directly the solution that was in the new forum...


EDIT: I should add that I have 162 threads as of now. It is quite frustrating to think that almost NONE of those will ever be answered because of a design decision.
If they are old enough to be in the archive, it is already likely that they would never be answered anyway.

ubuntu-geek
October 3rd, 2008, 02:38 PM
I do not see the archiving of old posts happening again in the near future. The reason behind the read-only archive is.

1. We upgraded the forum software and took advantage of the thread prefix and tagging features. They were not backwards compatible.

2. We launched the new forum along with a new Ubuntu release.

It made sense to start fresh with a new Ubuntu release and take advantage of these new forum features. This allowed all new posts to be properly tagged and prefixed for the forum search engine.

I am sorry you disagree but its been this way for 6 months and we have no plans on changing it.

tgalati4
October 3rd, 2008, 04:34 PM
I agree with mlissner's position. However the forums do need some way of keeping the database from growing out of control.

If mlissner has some answers to old problems, then perhaps he should send a private message to the original poster and see if the new, proposed solution fixes the old problem. If so, then mlissner can post a new message that documents the problem and solution. Of course this takes more work, but it does keep the forum database current.

I find that many folks move on with newer versions of Ubuntu or with newer hardware to get around some of these difficult, old problems.

mlissner
October 24th, 2008, 08:50 PM
Well, here's yet another example of how the read only this is not the greatest concept. I just found a solution to my problem here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=210700

However, those instructions are old, and need to be updated. I'd LOVE to post a correction to them. But I can't. So the forum has out of date data, and I can't do anything about it. Frustrating again.

-grubby
October 24th, 2008, 09:23 PM
Well, here's yet another example of how the read only this is not the greatest concept. I just found a solution to my problem here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=210700

However, those instructions are old, and need to be updated. I'd LOVE to post a correction to them. But I can't. So the forum has out of date data, and I can't do anything about it. Frustrating again.

That thread is over 2 years old. Simply post a new thread with the updated information. I don't know about you, but if I see a thread that's over 1 version old, I usually consider it out-of-date unless I see it somewhere else.

mlissner
October 24th, 2008, 09:29 PM
But what would that new thread say - That the old thread has bad information, or that to install Skype one should do 'aptitude install skype'? I agree that the thread is old, but if I could just post on it, that would help the next person without them having to go back to their search results and look for another thread. As it is, the old thread sits out there causing every person who searches the same thing I did to pull it up, try it out (or not), fail at that, and then have to search again elsewhere.

I know this is a top down decision, but it seems like there is a lot of unfortunate loss being caused by it, and that we users should pipe up when problems like this occur...

-grubby
October 24th, 2008, 09:31 PM
Searching for the thread's title doesn't even bring it up (towards the top, at least) http://ubuntuforums.org/search.php?searchid=50231473

mlissner
October 24th, 2008, 10:28 PM
I don't remember how I searched, but it was the top hit for me, so it's still coming up, at least sometimes.

gerrywastaken
April 22nd, 2010, 06:30 AM
I completely agree mlissner and have also posted about this issue:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=9151979

Possible Solution:
Modify the read only forum so that there is the ability to create a linking topic in the new forum version. If a new continued thread is created then it could be displayed along side the "READ only" message.

This solves the HUGE problem that mlissner and myself are talking about. This isn't a problem for regular forum users, however it effects the casual majority that visits Ubuntu Forums via Google. If the admins check the referrer logs they can see how much of their audience this is effecting. I would be surprised if it wasn't the majority of visitors as just about every Ubuntu Forums topic I find in my searches is "READ only".