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Personally customized Front Pages

By Tim Locke in Meta
Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 05:56:42 PM EST
Tags: Scoop (all tags)
Scoop

I would like to be able chooose which sections are shown, and not shown, on my own personally customized front page. If I am only interested in "Freedom & Politics", then I should only see articles in that section. If I am interested in everything except "Freedom & Politics",then I should see everything except that section. This would allow one-stop shopping, and we would not be required to manually click to every section we are interested in.


Also, the current voting options are not as flexible as I feel they should be. Moderators should be given the ability to choose which topic/section they feel each article should be posted to. This would mean that each section would appear in the voting dropdown box along with the "Post to front page", "I don't care" and the "Dump It" options.

It may be prudent to remove the "Post to front page" option if everyone has a personally customized front page.

I also don't feel that the "I don't care" option properly reflects its intended use, and should be changed to "No opinion", "I don't want to vote on this", or something similar.

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Poll
Should there be personalized front pages and moderator sectioning?
o (a) I only want moderators to choose an article's section 2%
o (b) I only want a personalized front page 21%
o (c) I only want the "I don't care" option changed 4%
o I only want (a) and (b) 8%
o I only want (a) and (c) 2%
o I only want (b) and (c) 5%
o I want it ALL (a), (b) and (c) 26%
o No, everything is fine the way it is 29%

Votes: 123
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by Tim Locke


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Personally customized Front Pages | 21 comments (21 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
This sounds cool... (4.12 / 8) (#1)
by inspire on Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 10:04:12 AM EST

Except I'm worried about fragmentation. A personalised front page would work really well if you had a huge userbase and its attendant problems (see Slashdot), but so far as I can see most kuro5hin users share a common interest in "technology and culture" which includes topics like politics, science, cool-MLP-tech type stuff, coffee, etc...

If you fragment a small group too early what happens is each of the divisions is not strong enough to support itself and the whole thing falls apart - as one site we should share common interests anyway (united we stand, divided we fall...)

That said, a Slashdot-esque black list of some topics (like meta, or MLP or op-ed) might be appropriate, but I currently have no problems just mentally filtering out what I'm not interested in.
--
What is the helix?

Re: (4.33 / 6) (#2)
by driph on Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 01:20:05 PM EST

Also, the current voting options are not as flexible as I feel they should be. Moderators should be given the ability to choose which topic/section they feel each article should be posted to. This would mean that each section would appear in the voting dropdown box along with the "Post to front page", "I don't care" and the "Dump It" options.

What REAL advantage does that give the site, to offset the extra code and time that would be required to implement it? How much of an advantage does it really give me to have to spend that much more time deciding something that the author could/should have decided while writing it? Sure, there are a few occassions where the selected section may be in doubt, but not enough to further complicate the system.

It may be prudent to remove the "Post to front page" option if everyone has a personally customized front page.

Which would never happen. We'll always have anonymous users, people checking out K5 for the first time, users who who see no need to change their settings, etc.

I also don't feel that the "I don't care" option properly reflects its intended use, and should be changed to "No opinion", "I don't want to vote on this", or something similar.

Semantics, but "No opinion" isn't a bad idea.

--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
voting (3.40 / 5) (#3)
by Potatoswatter on Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 02:13:16 PM EST

I agree that very often people choose the wrong section for their submitted article. If we're going to empower the people to change what section something gets posted to, why not give complete authority to the "moderate submissions" system? People *have* to choose what section they think the article belongs in from the menu. All points going toward any section mod the submission up, and whatever section got the highest proportion wins. This should also give the submission moderators more pause when casting their votes, too, which I think is a good thing...

+1 for making me write a topical comment.

myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;

forgot something (2.33 / 3) (#4)
by Potatoswatter on Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 02:15:34 PM EST

This was supposed to be in my previous comment, but I forget... there should be a checkbox next to the proposed menu for posting to the general front page. I think that most people will keep looking at all articles, so abolishing this filtering system would be bad.

myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;
[ Parent ]
Helpful for low bandwidth situations. (4.20 / 5) (#5)
by mahlen on Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 02:32:51 PM EST

The first notion (greater page customizability) would also be a great boon to someone reading in a low or expensive bandwidth situation, currently something that K5 doesn't do well. I've been (on the bus) using a cable that connects my cell phone to my Palm and let's me browse the web on the Palm wirelessly. It's pretty interesting that it works at all, but it is 9600 baud, and the K5 design not only comes down slow, but renders really badly, far too wide for the Palm screen. (I plan on submitting a story here sometime soon about this cable and my experiences.)

To those who would say, "Hey, go implement it yourself! Free, open, available, bla, bla source! The source!", I quite agree with you. If Scoop were written in Java or C++ or C or even AWK, I might be working on it now. But Perl is something i never grok'd (or perhaps, something no one paid me to grok), so I'd be a bull in a china shop in that code. So rather than a demand, consider this a humble, hat in hand, "Please, sir, I want some more" feature request.

If the changes seem of little interest to the general Scoop populace, I may write a service on my own web server that can do the culling itself, but that would be a distant second choice, being so dependant on the consistancy of the HTML and all.

mahlen

If little else, the brain is an educational toy.
--Tom Robbins

XML (4.00 / 3) (#9)
by loner on Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 04:27:01 PM EST

This is where XML would be handy: have K5/scoop spew out an XML version of its pages with a well-defined DTD. Then we could have subservers that take this XML version and change it into HTML, WML, etc. under various presentation formats. The subservers can even do some caching/mirroring to reduce traffic. The most complicated part would be to have the subservers send back form submittals to the K5 server.

There are ramifications of course, such as the reformatted pages should clearly indicate that they're not the original beast, and should still carry K5's original sponsor advertising.

As far as DIY, I'd love to work on the code myself, but I don't have a development platform that I can use. Anybody knows of any web-servers that I can use remotely to work on the scoop code?

[ Parent ]

"the other site" uses k5's rdf backend (3.50 / 2) (#15)
by GreatUnknown on Mon Nov 06, 2000 at 08:19:20 AM EST

kuro5hin.org has an RDF backend (imaginavely called backend.rdf) file to share headlines between sites. If you could set up a page to parse that RDF file and return it as plain text, you could get the k5 headlines.

I've quickly made one on my web site, you can take a look here: http://whatever.ii.net/k5_rdf.php
Please be nice when viewing this file (ie. load it once only)! I'm not caching the headlines, so it's making a request to k5 every time you look at it. I'm also on a modem connection and I'd appreciate it if it stayed usable!

HTH

Jason :)

[ Parent ]

rdf2html.pl (3.66 / 3) (#16)
by zagor on Mon Nov 06, 2000 at 09:17:49 AM EST

A quick hack that makes a .html from a .rdf:
# /bjst 2000-06-26

use POSIX;

sub rdf_show {
    $file = $_[0];
    # generic netscape RDF file input to nice table output

    open FILE, "$file.rdf" or die "Can't open $file.rdf"

    open OUT, ">$file.html" or die "Can't create $file.html"

    my $count = 0;
    my $maxcount = 10;
    my $item = 0;
    my ($title,$url,$time);
    
    for ( <FILE> ) {
        if ( /<item/ ) {
            $item = 1;
        }
        elsif ( /<\/item/ ) {
            $item = 0;
        }
        elsif ( $item == 1 ) {
            if ( /<title>(.*?)<\/title>/ ) {
                $title = $1;
            }
            elsif ( /<link>(.*?)<\/link>/ ) {
                $url = $1;
            }
            
            if ( defined $title and defined $url ) {
                print OUT "<"."p><a href=\"$url\">$title<"."/a><"."br>\n"
                undef ($title, $url);
                $count++;
                if ( $count >= $maxcount ) {
                    last;
                }
            }
        }
    }
    close OUT;
    close FILE;
}

&rdf_show( "backend.rdf" );

(I had to chop up the html print line to avoid it being munched by k5/browsers.)

[ Parent ]
re: rdf2html.pl (2.50 / 2) (#17)
by zagor on Mon Nov 06, 2000 at 09:23:55 AM EST

The semicolons were somehow cut off of the end of the 'print' line and the two 'open' lines, so be sure to add those before you run.

[ Parent ]
POSIX? (Re: rdf2html.pl) (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by dlc on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 06:45:33 AM EST

use POSIX;

Why are you using POSIX here?

How about something much simpler:

use strict;
use LWP::Simple;
use XML::RSS;

use constant KURO5HIN => 'http://kuro5hin.org/backend.rdf';

my $rdf = XML::RSS->new;
eval {
    $rdf->parse(get KURO5HIN);
};
die $@ if $@;

print "<ul>\n";
for (@{$rdf->{items}}) {
    printf qq( <li><a href="%s">%s</a></li>\n),
             $_->{link}, $_->{title};
}
print "</ul>\n";

This gives you something like this:

Stick it into a file called 'kuro5hin.pl' and call it like this:

bash $ kuro5hin.pl > kuro5hin.html

Include kuro5hin.html into another HTML file. Repeat for every sweb site that produces RDF files. Voila! It's Cheesy Portal all over again.


(darren)
[ Parent ]

K5 on "different" browsers (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by driptray on Mon Nov 06, 2000 at 11:07:41 PM EST

...but it is 9600 baud, and the K5 design not only comes down slow, but renders really badly, far too wide for the Palm screen.

I'm not familiar with the Palm web browsing environment, but the likely culprit is the use of HTML TABLEs. A non-TABLE version of K5 would be great for Palms, Lynx, cell-phones etc.

You could get a similar layout to the current TABLE-based columns by using DIVs with CSS. People with non-CSS browsers (and probably Netscape 4x users as well) won't get the columns, but they'll still get all the content.


--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]
Fast-risers (4.00 / 4) (#6)
by interiot on Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 03:27:55 PM EST

It may be prudent to remove the "Post to front page" option if everyone has a personally customized front page.

Somewhat related: I think that stories that get accepted after being in the queue for only an hour should be distinguised from stories that aren't accepted for a few months.

For example, your front page could consist of all the stories from the meta section, along with only the fast-risers from Freedom & Politics.

So fast-riser would be a replacement for "post to front page", which seems a bit odd because people aren't able to explicitely choose anymore. Wrong or right, the alternate system would allow an obscure but very popular story to go to peoples' front pages.

In any case, if I know how long a story has been in the queue, but I haven't read it, I mentally prejudge as being better if it's only been there a few hours. I just thought it might be nice to expose that heuristic to newbies by expicitely marking stories as fast risers.

except that (2.66 / 3) (#7)
by jesterzog on Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 04:18:37 PM EST

The only problem I can see with this is that sometimes it's possible to submit stories under strategic circumstances so they have a better chance of getting posted earlier.

An obvious examples of this is that if someone wanted to submit a story that's dismissive of the US, the most strategic time to submit it is when the most of America will be asleep. This way a good majority of the people who vote it through will be from Europe and Africa and around the Pacific, etc, whereas 8 hours difference and exposure to Americans might have seen it rejected or hanging around for another month before getting posted. The same can also apply in reverse, which is why I'm not sure if the speed of acceptence is a very good indicator of how relevant the story is.


jesterzog Fight the light


[ Parent ]
To some extend, I agree. (3.40 / 5) (#8)
by Dries on Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 04:20:30 PM EST

To some extend, I agree. If I could filter the main page to my likings, it's more likely going to contain stories on topic I'm really interested about.

On the other hand, an ocasional interesting story in another section (that I have not 'enabled') might slip my eye. The best content in the world is wasted if it can't be easily found and accessed.

-- Dries

-- Dries
what about... (3.66 / 3) (#10)
by jesterzog on Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 04:27:06 PM EST

...allowing stories to be associated with more than one section? The problem I guess is that it could screw up some table relations and might need a rethink about how to organise the sections, so it would hardly be a short term thing. Every so often there are stories around that definitely fit into more than one category though. If people were going to be allowed to customise what sections they see, I think it'd help a lot.

The other thing I think would be quite useful is if there was a batch process that would automatically subtract several mod points from stories in the submission queue every day, or maybe even automatically add points - depending on the number and frequency of topical comments in the story. This would help prevent stories from endlessly hanging around in the mod queue with nobody voting on them any longer, but make sure stories that generated a lot of discussion weren't just thrown away.


jesterzog Fight the light


I thought about this- (3.50 / 2) (#18)
by ramses0 on Mon Nov 06, 2000 at 12:27:37 PM EST

...I think that if a story is in the mod-queue after a certain amount of votes (say 700+, in kuro5hin's situation), the submitter should have two options:

1) remove the story. If it's still around after 700 votes, hovering around 20-30 votes range, then the submitter should be able to remove it. kill it. decide it didn't work out.

2) zero out all the current votes. This is a ~new~ idea. Say the first wave of voters didn't like the story, but started discussing it. Then the second wave of voters come in, and vote the story up on the strength of discussion. The story didn't change, but the votes from either wave of voters might change.

...and related to "resubmit/edit", the submitter should be allowed to resubmit a new story, based on the old one, but with a back-link to the old story. The new story would have zero comments, and zero votes. Voting (posting too?) would be closed on the old story, and the new story would replace the old one in the moderation queue (meaning you wouldn't get "8 new stories" if somebody made 8 edits).

My $0.02... the last one is a fair piece of work, so ignore it as needed. The first two ~feel~ pretty easy to implement, but the 3rd is a new feature entirely.

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

let's be very clear (2.33 / 3) (#11)
by tmckain on Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 06:08:52 PM EST

Your post, more than anything simply argues semantics (what I'll be addressing here). As such, it would benefit your cause if you fully considered your own semantics to clearly communicate your point and lend credibility to your concerns. That is, of course, what I gather you're suggesting, make the interface more to the point and therefore more usable. So if you want us to agree with you, you'd also need to offer suggestions that take into consideration the information use of all users, otherwise it becomes clear that you serve only self-interests.

As an example, suggesting the removal of "Post to Front Page" is misleading method to communicate your point. You're really suggesting is a change in the perceived intent of its use. Supporting your case, using this function to post to a hypothetical front page, is incorrect use because people will be allowed to customize their front page. But this is only in support of your suggested change of the environment.

What you may have failed to see, is that "Post to the front Page" would be the default page view had someone not customized or had they customized their front page to view that (sub)section by default. So your suggestion is biased and unclearly thought out because it only takes into account your usage of the site, not everyone's, and is only offered as a solution to support your suggestions. Where the real use of this function would in fact, function the same way, even with your suggested change--so there is no need to change it, but not remove it. Possibily changing the title to "Post to Top of Section" would be a better semantically communicative change.

Taking into account everyone's use, or potential uses of a site and its contents is an essentially critical exercise of the information design process that you have overlooked. So your suggestions, although interesting and a starting point of discussion, are biased and inaccurate for an enduring and extensible design.



ok (2.00 / 1) (#12)
by tmckain on Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 06:14:17 PM EST

ok, ok. before anyone else dings me, I know that there is a couple of typos and the following sentence did not get edited properly and should correctly read:
"...even with your suggested change--so there is a need to change it, but not remove it altogether."
*shrugs* never said I was perfect either. <g>

[ Parent ]
front page (4.00 / 3) (#14)
by enterfornone on Mon Nov 06, 2000 at 01:23:46 AM EST

i would like to see the front page replaced with a "best stories" section and the option to put everything (or everything from your fave sections) on the front page

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
The results thus far (none / 0) (#21)
by Tim Locke on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 02:09:35 PM EST

I posted this article on Sunday and now on Tuesday the results of 105 votes thus far are:

a) I want moderators to choose an article's section: 37%
b) I want a personalized front page: 59%
c) I want the "I don't care" option changed: 36%
d) No, everything is fine the way it is: 29%

Now my question is, are these numbers relevant? Should anything come out of these results? If so, what, if anything, needs to be done for any changes to occur?

Do these numbers have any value above and beyond being just another set of statistics?

--- On the Internet, no one knows you're using a VIC-20.
Personally customized Front Pages | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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