Ozzu Focus & Category Reorganization

  • Rabid Dog
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Yeah, I think the differentiation between discussions and questions is imperative.

Discussions are more free form where questions have a very specific purpose. As for the twitter feedback you might want to allow the user to automatically post it to twitter if they are asking a question. THis means it become a matter of creating the question and it posts to twitter in the background (after the user has authenticated themselves of course). What would also be cool is if the user or community votes for the best answer and the accepted answer is posted to twitter :)

With the amount of data that ozzu now contains, the ability to find what you looking for easily is going to become imperative!
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • suzie
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Nothing to add, I am leaving this to the expert's contributions.

Ozzu has always 'worked' for me as is.

Addind a Wordpress sounds good, its a huge community of bloggers.

Suzie
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I used to be a Ozzu die hard. I lived on here. Then I started asking tougher questions, and responses would come days/weeks later, and ultimately I stopped finding answers. So I left for a different forum. One that has been gamified, and I found answers to be MUCH faster.

Gameify OZZU more. Add badges/unlockables, maybe? Let users vote up/down the quality of a question/response. I think it'll help get answers more timely.

Don't have Mod's be the first line of defense for answers. Let your users be the first wave of answers. If a thread gets no response for 12-24 hrs. That's when a Mod should jump in, or to corral a runnaway thread.

Drop categories altogether and use tags instead. Have a tag library that as the user types tags into a tag field on a new thread, previous tags are suggested as the user types. Unique tags are reviewed/screened before being added to the library. This will help with your categorization/search.

Let the user find the answer's they're looking for via a kick a$$ search bar. Become the Knowledge Base for Tech/Programming/IT/Hardware/Hosting/Software/Design... Answers.

When someone starts a new thread. Have the title field perform an ajax type-ahead lookup that suggests other threads with titles with similar keywords. If none of those previous threads contain what the user is looking for, then they can bypass the suggested threads and continue creating a new thread. A measure to prevent duplicate threading.

I haven't seen this around, so maybe offer a space for users with a certain number of points (street cred) to post tutorials/widgets with demos and source code.

OHHH...big one. Code competitions. You have photo manipulations competitions. Find a way to host code competitions. With points for: speed of development, # of lines of code (less is better), speed of code, etc. At work, we've started doing the occasional hack-athon and they're a lot of fun, and get the creative/competitive juices flowing. Such a great opportunity for learning by seeing other's methodology!
  • GurusInc
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The problem with trying to get too granular, is that few people will know where to post and it may encourage cross-posting. I've see this on other sites.

May I suggest a sort of sitemap that is at the top of each forum, showing the topic tree and a one line description for each branch. Then you wouldn't have to make major changes and it would easy for visitors to figure out where they needed to post questions or answers. JMHO

John Gaver
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  • svnah
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Post 3+ Months Ago

like the layout idea by this213 - but need to add a few areas:
such as...
eLearning development (from captivate and articulate for beginners, to full on IMI3-4 scenario dev)
web trends (newest environments, coding and editors)
HTML5 (latest standards, from best ways to make a scorm compliant course with html5 - to designing interactive mobile apps)
HTML5 editors (like Hype and Edge)

and Oracle servers should be separated from Linux/BSD servers - scorm coding DOES change from ubuntu linux to oracle peoplesoft - as i found out the hard way this last year >.<' - inhouse legacy courseware generator that was recoded by at least 4 different coders - to find out it was coded for ubuntu (and we could see the content fine on our server), but client was using peoplesoft (who kept seeing an empty courseware shell)... do i need to say more about how much of a migraine i was having - daily?

anyways, adding bump outs and then giving narrowed title areas to those bump outs will indeed make it easier to find relevant data faster - i have to admit, the forums had become so bogged down past couple of years, i wasn't even using this site - especially times when i'm in a coding bind and under a tight deadline - i agree with this213 with tagging reply posts under the op would help as well - also voting down negative posts to auto-collapse should help remove unrelated/unwanted trash posts

you might also want to check the wow forums for additional ideas...
  • mindfullsilence
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Post 3+ Months Ago

this213 wrote:
"well, C++ game development fits because at some point I'll make it internet accessible and/or run it from my web site"

Couldn't agree more here. I've seen forums that try to cover everything having to do with tech, and it's far too ambiguous. I would hate to see OZZU become a jack of all trades and an ace of none.

Right now, I'm not for or against the voting system being proposed. My apprehension towards such a system stems from its potential negative impact on new members. A person could post what they believe to be a legitimate answer to a question and end up getting voted down and leaving the site permanently. Another scenario - I've come to learn that the translation engine running behind OZZU isn't the best. It's incredibly hard to understand what some of the members foreign to my country are saying as the english translation is nearly unreadable. Will members end up voting these posts down simply due to poor translation?

Rabid Dog wrote:
The search on the site could do with an overhaul.

Seems most of us are in agreement here. The search could use a bit of tweaking.

Rabid Dog wrote:
Allow users to create their own categorisations[sic] based on tags and other fields you might include.

Depending on it's implementation, this could be a good idea. Although, it could drastically effect the usability of the site if you only included one or the other. Using this technique would be best suited as an option alongside the sites default categorical structure. Leaving custom-tagging as the only way to categorize posts would get extremely messy extremely quickly if not given a good balance in usability, freedom, and limitation.

this213 wrote:
A lot of attention is given to design and photography. That's all well and good, but when was the last time you had a japh competition or a data mangling competition, or any kind of competition geared to developers?

Couldn't agree more, there is a lot of activity between moderators and users within the designer areas of the forum. I've seen a significant lack of concurrence on the developer sections of the forum.

s15199d wrote:
Gameify OZZU more. Add badges/unlockables, maybe? Let users vote up/down the quality of a question/response. I think it'll help get answers more timely.

I addressed my concerns on the voting up/down of posts. I think it's a good idea as long as it doesn't alienate users. As far as badges and unlockables, these could be a good incentive as long as they're implemented in a way that won't cheapen the feel of the OZZU environment. I could see this being a big asset to getting new members to stick around for a longer period of time, however I don't see it being anything more than ancillary decoration to the senior posters of OZZU. Not much worry here as a badge next to a name for a new person would be exciting, whilst a badge wouldn't bother a longstanding member.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

mindfullsilence wrote:
this213 wrote:
A lot of attention is given to design and photography. That's all well and good, but when was the last time you had a japh competition or a data mangling competition, or any kind of competition geared to developers?

Couldn't agree more, there is a lot of activity between moderators and users within the designer areas of the forum. I've seen a significant lack of concurrence on the developer sections of the forum.


Please check out this topic if you agree with the above.
  • Neuroxik
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I've been checking everywhere on how to change this, but I want to remove my real name (not username but "real name" displayed), or if I can't, atleast have an option to alter it
  • grinch2171
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Neuroxik wrote:
I've been checking everywhere on how to change this, but I want to remove my real name (not username but "real name" displayed), or if I can't, atleast have an option to alter it


I've been through every setting in the control panel and I don't even see a spot to put your real name and I don't see yours anywhere so not sure on that one.
  • Hob Bramble
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Post 3+ Months Ago

mindfullsilence wrote:
...I've seen forums that try to cover everything having to do with tech, and it's far too ambiguous. I would hate to see OZZU become a jack of all trades and an ace of none.


Just wanted to second this.

I've been away from Ozzu for quite a while now for various reasons, but recently I've been trying to get back into things (I haven't been doing a good job, as I tend to like replying to things more than starting them, and there hasn't been much started around here recently - at the very least, not much I've had anything really to join in on), for two major reasons:

1. I miss Ozzu.
When I first joined Ozzu, my family had moved a considerable distance (me with them) from where I grew up. I didn't acclimate well (it being my last year of high-school didn't help - homeschooled though I was, my friends from work, my town, my church, and our local homeschool group were all back home). I had trouble making new friends, lived too far away from any place to really walk to, didn't drive, and couldn't get a job anywhere. So, I didn't really know a lot of people - at least not really well.

So, I started spending more time reading and online than I usually did. First, it was mostly to keep in touch with my friends back home, then it grew into joining several online communities. Of those, the only I had the best experience with was Ozzu.

The discussion was varied enough to be interesting, while still mostly sticking (at least outside the General forum) to web-related issues enough to be cohesive and retain a theme. The people were great (most still are, I'd expect) - very friendly, helpful, and polite, but not without a sense of humour, an ability to be critical, or the willingness to engage in unrelated discussion every now and again. The moderators and admin kept the place nice and clean (still do) without ever abusing power. All in all, it was the best online community I personally got involved in.

Later, I went to college, met new friends, got into my studies, and suddenly, Ozzu wasn't as regular a stop for me anymore (I expect similar things have happened with many others, and hey - it happens). That said, I came back because I missed it, and because of reason two...

2. Ozzu is one of the better webmaster forums I've found.
I've been around to plenty of webmasters' forums. Some are great. Some aren't. Some focus two narrowly on one subject (a certain framework, for example) to be a go-to for anything but specific questions. Some have unpleasant communities, or ones simply too large to easily get into. Some are aimed to much at a certain level of user (no tolerance for beginners, or beginners only with no higher-level discussion) and thus are only useful to those with/without know-how. Some focus too broadly (again, "jack of all trades and an ace of none"), ending up with either no real in-depth discussion of topics at all or changing their focus entirely and being active only in a different area than was originally intended.

I never had any of those problems with Ozzu in the past. On Ozzu I was able to help others with some problems, and get help with some of mine. Some discussions went over my head (or, at least, ability to comment), while others I could easily get into and learn from (working my way up to those "over my heads"), and still others I could grasp totally and leas (already knowing the matter at hand). Ozzu was/is diverse but focused, open to multiple levels of user, and, again, had an easy to get into, get to know (whole topics were devoted to this), and get involved with community - much more than many other forums.

...

I won't go on any longer with my rambling - I haven't entirely stayed on topic as is, I suppose. But consider that tangent my comments of the "focus" issue, at least. I like much of the way Ozzu is, and would hate to see it lose anything by becoming too broad.


ALL THAT SAID, there is, of course, room for improvement - if the forums could be consolidated down a few, that would be awesome. Combine that with a new design and it'd be seven kinds of fine. My biggest "issue" with Ozzu (organization/site-wise) is that it looks, as others have said, a little "dated." I want to be more specific and say it looks cluttered.

Simplify it a bit - cut down on some sections, ditch or heavily simplify the sidebar, and, as others sort-of got at, switch out the "main menu" pop-out up top for some easy access buttons (maybe a drop down for some stuff, but at least login/out, control panel, PMs, and search should be links - probably FAQ too, so new users can more easily find it).

That much, for me anyway, would be a massive step towards making the site more accessible, both for current members and new ones.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

this213 wrote:
A big reason I stopped spending so much time on here was, as MarPlo pointed out, the rel="nofollow" being attached to signature links. By having this, you essentially kill any rating points I might get from search engines for linking back to my own site. Meanwhile, I'm giving people free advice and getting absolutely nothing in return except maybe a good feeling bc I helped someone, but there are lots of sites I can go help people on that don't do this to me. I'm also pretty sure that by allowing the bots to go through your site to get to multitudes of others, you're only helping your own SEO.


While this is off topic, I do want to address this as it has been brought up more than once in this thread, as well as numerous times across Ozzu since this has gone in effect. The main reason this was implemented was to discourage users from signing up on Ozzu to only post so that their link could get exposure. This lead to short low quality posts only for the purpose of getting those links on pages. One of my primary goals with Ozzu was to keep the quality of the board higher than other forums similar to Ozzu. If you look at boards that allow that, you will see many threads full of mindless chatter that nobody really cares about. I don't want this here.

Back at the time that it was implemented, it was suggested by Google to use on forums, blogs, and guestbooks where you could not trust the content and didn't want to inadvertently link to bad neighborhoods or spam. So while my goal was to keep the quality of content up at Ozzu, it was also to not get penalized in Google's eyes. Here is a useful content guidelines page by Google that discusses the rel="nofollow" tag:

http://support.google.com/webmasters/bi ... swer=96569

To summarize it, it basically says places to use the nofollow tag are untrusted content, paid links, and crawl prioritization. The main part that was of importance to me is "untrusted content" -- and how it also encourages spammers to simply post on Ozzu to get their links out. In this link above it says:

Quote:
If you can't or don't want to vouch for the content of pages you link to from your site — for example, untrusted user comments or guestbook entries — you should nofollow those links. This can discourage spammers from targeting your site, and will help keep your site from inadvertently passing PageRank to bad neighborhoods on the web. In particular, comment spammers may decide not to target a specific content management system or blog service if they can see that untrusted links in that service are nofollowed.


We have had plenty of those types of members here, and I feel the nofollow tag has helped discouraged them from participating. However, that Google page I linked above also says this right after that last quote:

Quote:
If you want to recognize and reward trustworthy contributors, you could decide to automatically or manually remove the nofollow attribute on links posted by members or users who have consistently made high-quality contributions over time.


This is honestly the first time I have seen Google state something along those lines. I would actually have no problem rewarding members on a case by case basis for those who contribute high quality content on Ozzu. There are more than one person who would fit that criteria, and this213 you are one of them. You always post consistently useful content.

So with that said this is something I will seriously consider implementing in the future to enable certain user accounts to have the rel="nofollow" attribute removed.
  • this213
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks, I try :D

I was discussing this very thing with someone a while ago. While we could go back and forth about the pros and cons, having run a couple of my own boards, I know *exactly* what you're talking about with trash posts, linking to bad neighborhoods and so forth. There's no good catch-all for these bingos since they usually crack some wide open windows system on a corporate network to do their posting from. You block that IP and they just grab the next one in line. You block that whole net and they just grab the next one in line. Anyway, this is a summary of what we came up with...

For signatures and profiles:
1. Links must be top level, such as board.mysite.c om or mysite.com, but mysite.com/whatever is invalid. Perhaps you could add rules to allow links to known sites as well, such as to someone's facebook or linkedin profile.
2. Administration should check the links to make sure they fit common sense criteria.
3. If a user changes their link, the change should be queued and not published until verified.
4. Users must post some number of posts before links will show - or perhaps better, must post in so many threads.

For posts:
1. Users must make some number of posts before links can be posted, until then, perhaps they show as hxxp:// subdom mysite com / page - just having spaces will confuse a lot of people and the only way someone might take the time to follow them would be to copy it to a location bar and then replace those with dots manually. This also stops them from being displayed as links in various clients, as they may if you just output the url and stripped the link tags.
2. Only allow images to be attached, as opposed to allowing [img] bbcode tags
3. Posts with either links (even if disabled) or attachments get flagged for moderator approval before they're published until the user has reached a trust threshold.
4. All links in posts should indeed have the nofollow attribute.

On a completely different note: How about getting the ability to subscribe to a daily email showing all of the unanswered posts made in the last 24 hours in a given forum? I know I can subscribe to a given forum, but that's not quite what I mean. Even if I couldn't choose which forums to include in the daily report and it were sitewide, I think I'd find that fairly handy.
  • Bigwebmaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I like the daily subscription idea. The way it works now is I believe an e-mail would get sent each time a new thread or post occurs in the forum you are subscribed to. Probably would get annoying, this is a default setting on how phpBB operates. A daily summary e-mail of your subscribed areas might be enough to remind people to come back more often. Like it!
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Bigwebmaster wrote:
I like the daily subscription idea. The way it works now is I believe an e-mail would get sent each time a new thread or post occurs in the forum you are subscribed to. Probably would get annoying, this is a default setting on how phpBB operates. A daily summary e-mail of your subscribed areas might be enough to remind people to come back more often. Like it!


So long as it is optional. Some may get bored of having it sent all the time and may want to remain subscribed to a section without receiving the emails.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Yes, I would make sure everything is optional :)
  • mindfullsilence
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Along that idea, I think it'd be useful to have a link much like the "View unread posts" that lists all unanswered posts. Showing only posts with 0 replies.

If you plan on implementing the "kudos" idea with ranking replies based on ability to answer the question, then this "view unanswered posts" could list all threads that have yet to vote up an answer.

Regardless of the "kudos" idea, it'd still be really useful for me (someone who wants to answer more questions nowadays) to find posts that need answers via a simple link I can click that lists all 0-reply posts.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I realize I need to make this easier to find, and that is one of my highest priorities in the next version of Ozzu -- to make things not so hard to figure out.

With the current version of Ozzu we already have a link for viewing "Unanswered Posts". What you need to do is look on the top right of the menu on Ozzu where it says:

Favorite Links

To the right of that click on the + sign.

Then you will see an interface which shows all of your current links that show up there. Towards the bottom is a section for "Add Favorite Links". In there select the Preset which says:

"View unanswered posts"

Then change the title or target as you wish, then hit submit. Now that link will show up all the time in your favorite links area.

Hope that helps :)
  • mindfullsilence
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Post 3+ Months Ago

huh, well look at that...awesome!
  • devilwood
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I first want to agree with Hob Bramble. So, I'll try not to restate any compliments he made.

1. Nofollow links - I liked this213 suggestions if they can be implemented without degrading posts and yes this213 has provided me with great help on occasion and has been here a while. :D
2. I like the subscription for unread posts
3. Categories need to stay simple and broad. Separating out language specifics under programming forum is probably a good idea. The Graphics category could use some mergers. Internet Marketing is fine unless there are topics missing but I like them broken out by specific search engine. I would definitely consider a Networking category. I would also, not definitely, consider working in an office program category that could comprise of tutorials, know-hows, questions, discussions on spreadsheet programs, word processors, presentation programs, PIMs/Email Clients, etc. Though, many could fall under specific OSes but a program could have Windows and Linux installers like OpenOffice or completely platform independent like Google Apps. I know there are whole forums dedicated to nothing but Excel. On a personal level I'd like to see platform specific news or discussions based on the top technology companies mainly Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Additionally, since these companies are the main mobile players then mobile development could easily be worked into their boards. It would help me to be able to check those boards to see if maybe Google has released a new API or the Apple board to see some neat discussions/feature releases on iOS. These company boards would almost have identical sub-categories (though I would keep sub-categorizing at a minimum) but allow the user to select their specific platform. I find these type of posts commonly posted in the General Discussions that come up when I first log in which is nice.
4. Layout, colors - you're just not going to be able to please everyone here. I've always liked Ozzu for it's simplicity, cleanliness, and classy layout of advertisements. It formats correctly to my display and is very professional. In comparison to other forums, which are clearly recognizable as phpBB or some variant, Ozzu is a blessing and is the ideal model organism for what those sites could be. So many forum sites are so junky and tacky. I think people that can't figure out Ozzu are just used to being in that whirlwind. Also, I think for the highest membership the Ads go bye-bye even though they are not intrusive.
5. I think if you can incorporate more technology news then that may at least make Ozzu a daily stop to get a quickie. Maybe if there's a way to feed into the news like when search a stock quote on google. For example, Intuit from google.com/finance gives events, news and related companies. Perhaps there's a way to lightly tap into that.
  • WritingBadCode
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Two things: I still think its a good idea with a chatroom, chatroom would let people chitchat and can create a friendly atmosphere. Also it lets people ask small and quick questions, that you would google otherwise. And in forums you have to be pretty "clear" in your answers or you get a "how did you mean" and thing can take days, while in chat the person right away ask: "how did you mean" and you immediate know you explained bad and can explain better.

ozzu(dot)com, I prefer writing: ozzu(dot)com(slash)forum. Why? ozzu(dot)com is updated way to slow for us coming here often. I don't really get the idea, if I want news I want them to be NEWs, usually the posts presented there are several months old and it makes the page look dead.

I don't know if there are better things to put there.

But I think its updated a bit too slow, and it don't really show what is going on in the forum (or in the world for that matter).
  • Hob Bramble
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Post 3+ Months Ago

WritingBadCode wrote:
[The ozzu.com main landing page] is updated way to slow for us coming here often. I don't really get the idea, if I want news I want them to be NEWs, usually the posts presented there are several months old and it makes the page look dead...But I think its updated a bit too slow, and it don't really show what is going on in the forum (or in the world for that matter).


I second that one - I bookmarked /forum/ so I could skip the landing page entirely when coming to Ozzu for that very reason.
  • Zealous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

make a error code section, i am sure you got 5000 posts that have to deal with error codes.
  • WizardOz
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i really like the idea of the 'dynamic categorization' aided by tags as thrown up by one member here. it may sound trivial but it would certainly obviate the need to think that comparmentalization of information is the key thing to making sense of everything or even assume that this is what will make Ozzu more appealing to everyone.

btw, to be everything to everyone is actually a serious imagination that will be a running target for Ozzu and i am not sure what this will lead to.

like i have said, users going into inter-people interactive sites are just like tourists or travellers touring in geographical sites. but to think along the lines of demarcating regions of information like giving borders to countries, nations, and states MIGHT NOT BE the parallel that Ozzu should be looking at.

i think the ideal here is just to help people navigate their way in the 'jungle' of information, that's all; but not to try to seriously cut up Ozzu into 'States' or 'countries' so that regular tourists or once-a-while tourists know where to travel to.

is the idea of another structural compartmentalization going to make Ozzu 'fresh', 'vibrant', 'attractive'? after spending time on compartmentalization is anyone so sure that Ozzu will get a bigger piece of the inter-people interactivity?

i believe a form of tagging 'technology' or 'methodology' is what is needed here. i don't know of any precedent in such an idea anywhere in the internet, but it could have been implemented in some ways unexpectedly. it is now to think along these lines to improve on it rather than 'forced' compartmentalization.

the reason for tagging is just this: Nations of people is just a way of compartmentalizing nationalities. When it comes to the intangible things like ideas, thoughts, discussions, 'national borders' might not be the answer, as these go beyond 'nationalities' and 'borders' don't make real sense at all.

i don't have details on how to tag, and it could very well be food for thought for OUT-OF-THE-OLD-BOX.... and this is not going to be easy for those who have been comfortable with the old box.... LOL.
  • mindfullsilence
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The emails I get from ozzu letting me know that there is a new post on (insert subscribed post here) are very helpful. It'd be cool if I could simply reply to the email and have it post my reply to the topic.
As is, I do the following:
  • open email
  • click link
  • wait for page to load
  • scroll for days
  • write my reply
  • hit submit

Would love to cut that down:
  • open email
  • click reply
  • write my reply
  • hit send

Don't need to wait for browser to open, wait for page to load, or scroll to the bottom. That can take some time on long posts

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