How are you finding the community section?

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to extend a welcome to all our new members on the Rough Guides site. We re-launched Roughguides.com in late January this year and two months later we’ve just passed the 1,000 members mark.

We’re hoping this area will grow and grow and become a valuable resource for travellers everywhere.

We want to know though: what do you think of the Community section? What do you like best, and what are we missing? Are there more topics or features you’d like to see?

All feedback appreciated!

Thanks, Tim

Tim Chester 02/04/13    General travel chat Link Report

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50 Replies Date Popularity

I think it would be useful to have sections according to regions or countries – much like another certain travel forum which is unfortunately not what it used to be :(

scottyheather 04/04/13    Link Report

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  • Hi Tim,

    Really liking the redesign, and love the fact that you have a community section now. I really hope it continues to grow and becomes a really useful resource for backpackers and travellers to share tips and advice. It is relatively early days yet but it can only grow from here!

    I like the profile options and the general layout. I think the option to like or rate answers is interesting, but it may leave future long threads a little disjointed if the favourite answers are moved to the top, making it harder for people to read or follow.

    As general constructive criticism though, although the recent posts thread is a good idea, is there any chance of having a much more prominent categories, and particularly country/region threads displayed so that users can go straight to the categories or countries they are specifically interested in much more easily? I think that will be more useful than a dominant recent thread layout.

    Michael Huxley 02/04/13    Link Report

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  • Completely agree with scottyheather. Also maybe add peoples names or info at the side of the post underneath their profile picture? Just to give all the information at a glance?

    Michael Huxley 04/04/13    Link Report

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  • I’m loving it! It is my favourite part of another travel site and having one for rough guides too (which are often better) is brilliant! Please keep it up!

    Stephanie L 03/04/13    Link Report

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  • It would scottyheather, I know it is early days yet but if it develops that ‘community’ feel alongside the questions/answers and backlog of info and advice on various subjects it would be fantastic. All it needs is time and members.

    Michael Huxley 04/04/13    Link Report

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  • Thanks for the feedback tim. It would be good to have those little tweaks improved. Looking forward to seeing the alternative categories lists. Overall though (minor tweaks apart obviously) the site is generally really good! I just didnt want it to sound like a moanathon on here so keep up the good work! Hopefully it will continue to grow!

    Michael Huxley 20/05/13    Link Report

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  • Just joined the community today due to the apparent collapse of another travel forum, and I really like it so far. Topics are really accessible and as the community grows i’m sure the wealth of info will also increase. I don’t think I will be travelling till next year again, so it will be great to see how useful the community is when i’m on the road :) :)

    aidoc 12/06/13    Link Report

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  • Have to agree with katel there, its nice to have rg staffers to converse with but a lot more members are needed and more q and a’s are needed to build the community up. hopefully that will come in time.

    Michael Huxley 13/04/13    Link Report

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  • It needs to list the last person that posted. Too much work to look through posts to see if someone posted after (and quite silly to try to remember how many replies there’ve been to posts).

    PirateAt50 07/04/13    Link Report

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  • Thanks Michael. It would be good if this forum really took off wouldn’t it?

    scottyheather 04/04/13    Link Report

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  • Thanks for your feedback everyone. We’re working through your suggestions.

    Jennifer Schilling – great idea. This is in place now, so hopefully those odd-looking countries won’t be in the destinations index for long. We’re also looking at a different taxonomy system longer term.

    Michael – the developers are looking at another option for browsing by country and theme. You can currently click on the categories on the right hand side (or any tag at the bottom of a question) to have a look at topics by category, and click ‘see all country tags’ to get to the destination index, but there should be easier ways to get to these areas soon.

    Also on the list: offering threads in either date or popularity order (to solve the chronological issue you’ve mentioned), adding reply functionality (so users can respond to an individual comment/answer & a few other minor things.

    Autolykos – thanks for your feedback too. Will pass on.

    Tim Chester 20/05/13    Link Report

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  • Very sparse at the moment to be honest, very few questions/answers being made, maybe need some more members? Hope this will get better in time. Another vote for better country or category selections instead of a big recent threads feed.

    KateL 12/04/13    Link Report

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  • Maybe you should get a few more competitions or giveaways going for questions in general, the one for Morocco seems to be working! Fair enough none of them seem to be asking or answering any other questions and it’s obvious they’re just asking to see if they can get a freebie, but hey, the recent questions bit is finally moving!

    Michael Huxley 06/06/13    Link Report

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  • Thanks for the update Tim, glad to hear the country tag and the thread chronology issues are being looked at.

    May I ask though what is being done to promote the site and get new posters, well, posting? I’ve mentioned it a little in a few places/other forums etc myself but it still seems very sparse as others have rightly said? (This isn’t a kick you when you’re down criticism, honest, I’m genuinely interested).

    Michael Huxley 01/06/13    Link Report

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  • What are these functional upgrades Tim? Any hints?

    Oh, and I hope it grows with time too, I really prefer the general look and feel of this site (despite a few needed tweaks) over a certain other one, but it does need plenty more people.

    Stephanie L 19/04/13    Link Report

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  • So when are these functional upgrades happening tim? what are they?

    Michael Huxley 09/05/13    Link Report

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  • Agree with Jennifer Schilling Tim, categories such as “veiwing ceiling od Sistine Chapel” (sic) and so on are not needed. I would suggest the system that allows categories to be added as they are typed in is replaced by one where you simply provide us with categories. It may be more useful if your team simply added region and country categories yourself such as ‘South East Asia’, ‘Thailand’ etc and ensured that all countries are covered as per other sugestions.

    Michael Huxley 20/04/13    Link Report

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  • So any more news/updates on what you are planning with this community section? Second phase? It feels a little …. abandoned.

    Michael Huxley 07/01/14    Link Report

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    I’ll have faith and look forward to it then Lottie! ;D

    Michael Huxley 07/01/14    Link Report

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    Hey Michael, changes are set to be live at the beginning of Feb. Don’t worry, we’re not abandoning – we’re just taking time and care on this one and we hope you’ll like it. Look out for it in a month or so.

    Lottie Gross 07/01/14    Link Report

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  • Hello Tim
    I’d like to recommend that the ‘country tags’ are reviewed a moderator and amended as appropriate.
    At the moment it must be free text which is resulting in some misspells, duplicates (see Malaysia) and sentences in there which look a bit untidy (to the OCD minded!).
    Perhaps there can be a sharp eye cast over the tags every now and again!
    Cheers
    Jen

    Jennifer Schilling 19/04/13    Link Report

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  • I’d really like to have sections according to regions or countries, as well as the inclusion of countries that are missing from the destination list, like just about all the countries of the South Pacific. It’s not easy wading through random posts when searching for something about a place you’re interested in,

    watsoff 16/04/13    Link Report

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  • Thanks Kate – hopefully you’ll see more and more Qs and As as time goes by.

    Tim Chester 12/04/13    Link Report

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  • Actual “we`re not blind and know spam when we see it, and, they know they`re spamming” needs to go away faster.

    The previous answer of “they`re here every day” has flaws since spam is reported and is still hanging around too long.

    It`s a blot on the site.

    PirateAt50 20/05/13    Link Report

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  • Like Stephanie L, I also have Himalaya treks following me. I posted on a thread and see that it is now at the top of the replies instead of down where it should be.

    Captain Courageous 20/05/13    Link Report

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  • Tim, may I ask if suggestions are getting fed back from here will they get acted on?

    Also do you see what I mean about the disjointed posts? The votes is a good idea as it shows that good advice is being agreed with and vice versa, but I think it makes it awkward to move the posts to the top.

    Michael Huxley 06/04/13    Link Report

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  • Hi Michael,

    Definitely agree with you about disjointed posts. We’re looking at ways for people to reward (upvote) answers without changing the order of the comments, and taking on board all this feedback. It will take a short while for our developers to schedule the changes but expect some tweaks soon!

    Thanks again for feedback.

    Tim Chester 08/04/13    Link Report

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  • I have noticed a bit of spam getting through, including a spam profile for Himalaya treks now following me, is there any way to get rid of that or block it better? Thanks.

    Stephanie L 08/04/13    Link Report

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  • “The Rough Guides editors are on here daily”

    Don’t forget the time zones, either. I’m guessing the spam he’s referring to was 12 hours old when I first saw it this morning… And England is hardly in bed then.

    And yes, Himalaya boy has been active.

    PirateAt50 08/04/13    Link Report

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  • As a newbie who has lurked for a while, I’d be in favour of the countries/destinations choice option being more visible. At the moment it is not clearly visible.
    Also – small spelling error in Morocco.

    ohwell 10/04/13    Link Report

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  • Thanks Jennifer and Michael – we’ll clean those up. Will let you know about changes to the community soon!

    Tim Chester 14/05/13    Link Report

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  • Thanks Peter. The countries are actually added as questions relating to them arise, so this list should grow with time.

    Agree about answers from fellow travellers. Again, hopefully this will grow with time. We’re working on some functional upgrades to the section over the next few weeks.

    Tim Chester 17/04/13    Link Report

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  • You need to add a lot more specific countries to your lists (why are so many places missing?) and display sections with each region/country too.

    Also agree with the sentiment that there doesn’t seem to be much movement on here in terms of getting answers from other travellers compared to a certain other site.

    peterdraper 16/04/13    Link Report

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  • Rajasthan to Kerala and back to north Rajasthan is what I was speaking of. He likely has no concept of the distances. He will.

    Both the Jaisalmer and Jodhpur forts are well worth the visit if you happen to already be there or are planning to. But roughly 2400Km back to where he`s already been would be torture.

    As for the green arrow, it`s nice if they feel they need one. But to break the continuity of a conversation (which threads often turn in to) by rearranging the posts isn`t very clever.

    PirateAt50 13/06/13    Link Report

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  • 1 or 2 gripey little things…

    In this thread – http://www.roughguides.com/questions/is-it-possible/ — Someone found it necessary to click a green check mark on a post. This puts it above all the other replies. While it might be an ok answer, it does NOT answer the OPs question, in fact it would put him a couple of days away in travel from what his question was, and his time schedule does not support it. That`s not really good.

    In another thread, one of the RG staff replied later and was bumped to the top (sans green checkmark). And it was an incomplete and fairly novice answer.

    It`ll be nice to fix these 2 things. And I`ll hang around if you do.

    PirateAt50 12/06/13    Link Report

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  • Hi guys, I believe my answer is the one that’s been highlighted green by the OP that you are referring to above.

    Going by what the OP had asked in his question and subsequently in a further comment made he said following on from Nepal he would be taking a 19 day trip hitting all the hot spots such as Taj, Golden Temple, Varanasi & Rajasthan.

    All my recommendations are in Rajasthan so I don’t think that im sending this guy a couple of days off travel as quoted above. I think my recommendations are within the boundaries of the question that the guy asked and the further comment he made about his trip. Also, its an opinionated answer that I gave, I don’t think its written in stone now that he has to go see all the places I told him to.

    It was also the OP himself that green arrowed my answer so it cant have been WTF or misleading in his eyes.

    Thanks

    :)

    aidoc 13/06/13    Link Report

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  • Pirate, I asked about that very thing on this thread a little while back, (the same thing happens with those little arrows) and the OP Tim stated that they were looking at a way to keep the ‘like’ system (for lack of a better word) without jumbling up all the posts and keeping them in chronological order. That was a couple of months ago however and nothing has happened as of yet.

    In fact none of the stated ‘improvements’ have happened as of yet as far as I can see.

    This has a real potential to be a great forum, it just needs to grow, get some decent posters (some of the questions have been decidedly wtf) and fix a few niggly bugs as you say.

    Michael Huxley 12/06/13    Link Report

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  • I don`t care about wtf opinions. I get very disappointed about wtf answers presented as fact, especially those that mislead or could be potentially unsafe.

    PirateAt50 13/06/13    Link Report

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  • Thanks Michael and Stephanie. Some good feedback there and agree themes / regions could be more prominent. Will feed that back. Interested to hear what anyone else thinks… TC

    Tim Chester 03/04/13    Link Report

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  • Thanks for letting us know. The Rough Guides editors are on here daily (as well as myself), so we do try and spot (and remove) these ASAP. But let us know if you see more….

    TC

    Tim Chester 08/04/13    Link Report

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  • Tim, can we have contact details for yourself and/or Lottie (as the community mod) in your profiles too?

    Michael Huxley 07/09/13    Link Report

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    Did you get the email?

    Michael Huxley 12/09/13    Link Report

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    Tim?

    Michael Huxley 20/09/13    Link Report

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    Cheers Tim.

    Michael Huxley 09/09/13    Link Report

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  • definitely need country/regions sections. E.g. questions about budget, modes of travel, etc are going to be completely country-dependent.

    Also, a meta-forum section, where questions like this particular thread can go, would be helpful to. How else can we ask questions pertaining to the community? like my question here, http://www.roughguides.com/questions/can-we-use-mark-up/

    I had no idea where to place it.

    MTL 10/07/13    Link Report

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  • Good idea MTL,

    I agree with Pirate too, often questions asked on travel forums such as this can not have a right or wrong answer, people have questions and people offer advice and opinion, the whole ‘right answer’ thing doesn’t sit right. More to the point though what is going on with these changes and updates? Been a while now Tim?

    Michael Huxley 11/07/13    Link Report

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  • “Bueller? Bueller?”

    Exactly my thought… The road to somewhere is paved with good intentions. Having a site primarily hosted by 3-4 people not even from the org that owns it isn’t close. Doesn’t take much effort to click it for new msgs every day at least.

    PirateAt50 13/07/13    Link Report

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  • There’s one more thing missing: an ‘updates’ notification. I just logged in after 3 days and it said i had no notifications. Yes, some of the questions i was active in have new answers. I’d like automatic notifications (not by email- on the screen) of any activity in questions I got involved in. That way i can see if the conversation has evolved and perhaps i want to contribute more.

    It’s not rocket science.

    MTL 13/07/13    Link Report

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  • Agreed Pirate, they need a lot more people, not just asking and answering questions, most of which at the moment read very poorly indeed, (at the moment they should start putting you, timeofmylife and myself on the payroll!) but they also need to build up a community that offers and shares advice and information. I’m really hoping that will come in time.

    Still no movement on any changes though?

    MTL that would be a good idea, if they got rid of this horrible feed format and implemented a proper category board.

    Michael Huxley 16/07/13    Link Report

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  • PS I’ve just added “Community FAQs” as a new category.

    Tim Chester 30/08/13    Link Report

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    Excellent, maybe a community issues sub section? For those things that aren’t covered in FAQs?

    Michael Huxley 30/08/13    Link Report

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    Where is the community FAQs?? Can’t seem to find it anywhere?

    Michael Huxley 03/09/13    Link Report

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    It’s in the drop down menu when you submit a question…

    Tim Chester 03/09/13    Link Report

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    Ah okay, thanks Tim, I was looking in the categories sections at the top of the page, it isn’t there? Also, do you have an email contact?

    Michael Huxley 04/09/13    Link Report

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  • Tim, any replies on previous questions yet? What is happening?

    I like a few of the recent changes, such as the addition of ‘add comments’ (an excellent touch imo).

    However, some things I do not like, the term ‘travel junkies’ I find a little distasteful(not the best connotation, is it?) and the fact you still have the recent questions feed instead of proper categories and areas of q&a and chat. Also there are quite a lot of little buggy issues popping up too. The orange notification button next to my profile does not update/refresh properly, the ‘add comments’ section doesn’t always work and a few more. I’m telling you this out of constructive criticism, not to be critical. I like the new site and want it to succeed as a forum. God knows we need a proper travel one after the collapse of another well known one.

    Also, just out of curiosity what is being done to encourage/promote this as a forum from your side? There is still too few people engaging in the developing community?Hopefully this will change and the site will grow in time, but it seems very slow at the moment.

    Michael Huxley 27/08/13    Link Report

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  • Hi all,

    Thanks for your continued feedback on the forum area. We’ve recently implemented a number of your suggestions and other changes, including:

    -The ability to respond directly to individual answers under a post
    -New answer order options. The default option is now ‘sort by date’, offering a chronological view of the discussion, but you can also view by ‘most popular’ which shows the favourite answers on a particular topic.
    -Social sharing options on answers
    -New ways to search topics by category and country through drop down menus.
    -View by most recent questions or most recent answers
    -Other minor tweaks

    I hope these make the section a more enjoyable place to spend time.

    We’re also working on a second phase of enhancements and changes to improve the community area, and at the same time we’ve just made the Rough Guides site mobile-friendly.

    I hope you’ve all met / seen our new Community Moderator Lottie too. She’s just joined us and will be kick-starting discussions and answering questions etc. Her profile is right here:

    http://www.roughguides.com/community/members/lottie-gross/

    MTL – I agree with you re. notifications. We’re looking at this.

    Tim Chester 29/08/13    Link Report

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    Tim! Been away?

    I’m liking many of the new features, social sharing etc. There have been a few buggy issues but they seem to be resolving. Noted the new mobile section too, it works well. The new category choices are a good step in the right direction, I still don’t like the main questions feed though (or the junkies connotation) but then I suppose that’s personal opinion. It’s great that we have a moderator kick starting a few discussions, that was needed. Now we just need other members to do the same! ;D

    What about adding a question category specifically relating to RG guides and another one for website/community issues/feedback?

    What are these new second phase enhancements? I’m curious! Keep us informed?

    Michael Huxley 29/08/13    Link Report

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    Sure, will do. We’re rethinking the Community homepage and hopefully making it a bit more visual round here. Looking at ways to integrate community around the site too. Need to meet with the developers first. As for “junkies” I think that term’s probably due for extinction. New categories like those are a good idea too.

    Tim Chester 29/08/13    Link Report

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    Glad to here the term is for the chop! A bit more visual sounds interesting! I’ll certainly look forward to that! Good to hear from you!

    Michael Huxley 29/08/13    Link Report

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  • “(at the moment they should start putting you, timeofmylife and myself on the payroll!)”

    Passed right over us, Mike. But we have Lottie :)

    PirateAt50 29/08/13    Link Report

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    Hahaha!

    Michael Huxley 29/08/13    Link Report

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    You guys are certainly keeping the momentum up at the moment…

    Tim Chester 29/08/13    Link Report

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    Lottie seems to be picking up the pace too! It’s nice to have some travel related discussion.

    Michael Huxley 29/08/13    Link Report

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    Discussion…. That’s what you’re really asking for Michael. Q&A is nice, but a tad shallow. And that’ll come once the first contingent of the hundering thorde shows up.

    PirateAt50 30/08/13    Link Report

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    Ah yes, succinctly put Pirate! I do love a good discussion! Especially about one of my fave topics, travel! And like you say, the repeated questions will come …

    Michael Huxley 30/08/13    Link Report

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  • And since you asked… 2 little things I’d like to see.

    Would be lovely to have the name of the last poster on the list screen – the original poster is nice, but doesn’t really tell you anything. Recent Answers is nice, but also doesn’t really tell you much about the thread that putting the last poster’s name might.

    The new “comment on the post” feature is ok enough. Could derail the discussion aspect if some use it and others don’t, but…. It would be lovely to add an Edit feature to the comment – you can edit a post but not a comment.

    PirateAt50 30/08/13    Link Report

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    Thanks – wasn’t aware you couldn’t edit a comment, but that makes sense. Will add that to our list. Name of last poster is a good idea too!

    Tim Chester 30/08/13    Link Report

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    Pirates right, an edit feature would be nice! I do like the add comment feature a lot, I think its a great idea, but I see pirates point about it potentially derailing threads though. Difficult one.

    Michael Huxley 30/08/13    Link Report

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  • Bueller? Bueller?

    Michael Huxley 13/07/13    Link Report

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