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A Customizable Front Page: Do You Want It?

By Carnage4Life in Meta
Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 03:33:51 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)
Kuro5hin.org

After the recent deluge of U.S. politics articles as well as the numerous meta-articles on how K5 is dying or how some part of K5 is broken, I have decided that I no longer want to read articles from certain sections (at least for a little while).

So after consulting with rusty, I've decided to look into adding certain customizability features to K5 which are similar to Slashdot's slashboxes that allow one to customize the left and right columns on the front page.


Rusty has often talked about how K5 may grow into disparate and disconnected sections as the site grows and I feel that having the functionality I describe below will aid this. These are the ideas I have in my head that I plan to try and hack into scoop and get accepted by the K5 dev team.
  • The ability to filter certain sections out of your moderation queue.
  • The ability to filter what sections appear in the left and right columns on the front page.
  • The ability to promote all stories in a specific section to your front page regardless of how section vs. frontpage storyvoting went.
  • Ability to ban certain sections from your frontpage regardless of how many +1 frontpage votes it got.
This is my personal wishlist which may or may not be implemented depending on my schedule next semester.

Some of these features seem like a good idea while others I am not so sure about, I'd like feedback from K5's users on whether these are worthwhile features and also what related features people would like.

PS: I know this would better be suited to the Scoop site but I wanted feedback from the actual users instead of from Scoop developers.

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Poll
What feature would you most be interested in?
o None. 8%
o Not seeing certain sections in the moderation queue. 1%
o Modifying the left and right columns on the frontpage. 34%
o Promoting all stories from a certain section to your front page independent of how voting went. 30%
o Ability to restrict what sections appear on your front page 25%

Votes: 84
Results | Other Polls

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o Also by Carnage4Life


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A Customizable Front Page: Do You Want It? | 20 comments (20 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
As a non-developer... (3.25 / 4) (#1)
by Refrag on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 02:26:45 PM EST

That is, I don't have a Scoop login. What language is the server-side code for Kuro5hin written in?

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches

Perl.... (4.50 / 2) (#3)
by Smirks on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 02:31:23 PM EST

A quick look at Scoop's project page @ SourceForge shows it's backend is in Perl.

[ Music Rules ]
[ Parent ]
disparate growth is inevitable (3.50 / 6) (#2)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 02:30:16 PM EST

Rusty has often talked about how K5 may grow into disparate and disconnected sections as the site grows

This is inevitable, and IMHO, a good thing. I am willing to bet that more than a few k5'ers will participate in more than one segmented community when k5 grows to that size. The constant flow of discussions on humor, politics, morality and even religion along side discussions on technology and computers demonstrates that there is quite a breadth of areas of interest to folks that participate in k5.

well, almost (3.50 / 6) (#4)
by Garc on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 02:34:56 PM EST

I usually click on the everything link up near the top there, as I hate having to follow individual sections and the front page. It seems as though none of your improvements will help with that particualr aspect of my behavior.

Perhaps some of the options which you are applying to the front page can also be applied to the everything section? The ability to filter sections out of your view of the everything section could easily come in handy.

garc
--
Tomorrow is going to be wonderful because tonight I do not understand anything. -- Niels Bohr
Actually that's what I aimed to fix (4.50 / 2) (#6)
by Carnage4Life on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 02:45:08 PM EST

I usually click on the everything link up near the top there, as I hate having to follow individual sections and the front page. It seems as though none of your improvements will help with that particualr aspect of my behavior.

If you can customize the front page then you can say "allow every article to go to my frontpage except those from sections X, Y and Z". Behavior like yours was what I was specifically targetting when I came up with my solutions.


[ Parent ]
Damn you (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by Garc on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 05:50:57 PM EST

Why didn't I think of that?

Your solution almost warrants a complete removal of the everything section then, doesn't it? People who want to see everything can just have it all sent to their front page.

I like it, and definitely think it should be implemented.

garc

<note: subject not ment to be taken offensively>
--
Tomorrow is going to be wonderful because tonight I do not understand anything. -- Niels Bohr
[ Parent ]
I want it (4.00 / 4) (#5)
by 31: on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 02:45:04 PM EST

I'd probably put almost everything on the front page, and just drop the stuff I've got no interest in (say, if k5 were to get a Katz section), and I would imagine most people will use it to get more on their front page, so it should have a de-disparating effect.

-Patrick
If you want it... (4.33 / 3) (#7)
by Carnage4Life on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 02:49:19 PM EST

...why did you vote against the article?



[ Parent ]
re: why (3.60 / 5) (#9)
by 31: on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 02:57:27 PM EST

I was in a grouchy mood about meta articles. The number of stories that want to revolutionize moderation are just making me sick of any story about the way k5 works... I was gonna mention that in the post, but it woulda let the bitterniss on the topic come out :)

-Patrick
[ Parent ]
Possible modification (3.00 / 1) (#8)
by forgey on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 02:52:42 PM EST

I wouldn't mind being able to choose which categories get posted to my front page, then instead of having two options in voting +1 (section only, or front page) we could just vote to post it, then each person can choose which sections they want on their front page.



...maybe but... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by ramses0 on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 03:17:20 PM EST

...I've been using (+1 section) to vote for stories which aren't too great, or that don't have broad appeal, or don't warrant high-traffic discussion.

Taking away the +1 section means (for me) that I'll vote -1 (or 0 don't care) on a lot more articles, when +1 section might be a better choice.

It's a simple enough concept for users to "get" that I'd hate to lose the extra precision it gives.

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

Re: ...maybe but... (none / 0) (#20)
by forgey on Fri Dec 15, 2000 at 03:37:00 PM EST

True enough. I would still like to be able to choose which sections make it to the front page. That is of course not a really critical modification though just a possible option to add in the future (or if they decide to implement a customizable front page.

forge

[ Parent ]
Prefer v. Avoid (4.66 / 3) (#10)
by ramses0 on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 03:13:39 PM EST

It would be a really simple task to manage all these preferences if you used a "Prefer/Avoid" strategy.

Not being a perl whiz, I've looked at a lot of the code, and wish you luck. But I would like to recommend a possible implementation idea:

Foreach <section>: [Prefer | Avoid | Default]

All sections which you tag as "preferred" will be displayed on your front page. All sections tagged as "Avoid" will not be shown on any pages, and not shown in the mod-queue or search results (similar to the way diaries are handled right now). Default means that there are no special handlings of that topic.

This will allow diary fiends to set "Prefer: Diaries, Avoid: all-else" as well as the "I want it all" people to say: "Prefer: everything but diaries, Avoid: Diaries" to the programmer who says: "Prefer: Technology, Avoid: All else". I also think that Diaries should be removed from their special-case status, and instead moved to a system like I've described above.

If anyone else can offer a good strategy, or post ideas on why this won't work (from a technical, or user-interface standpoint), go ahead. And if you like it, mod it up ;^)=

--Robert (whoring for mojo ;^)=
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]

Yes Please! (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by Shaggie76 on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 04:12:51 PM EST

I would love to be able to strip away all the side-lines, and put all [minus MLP] on my front-page.

Specific Diaries (4.75 / 4) (#13)
by error 404 on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 04:15:30 PM EST

I'd like to be able to put specific diaries on my front page or in column or on a special diaries page.

There are some people whose diaries are consistantly interesting to me, and I'd like a convenient way to find them. The hotlist would work, if I could hotlist a diary, rather than just an entry.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

That would be really cool. (none / 0) (#19)
by aphrael on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 10:28:17 PM EST

It would also be nice if, when looking at 'person [x]'s diary', it was possible to get a 'more diary entries' which was specific to that diary --- right now it times out 10 entries or so ago, and then you have to go do manual searches through the global 'more diary entries' listings.

[ Parent ]
A simple solution (4.00 / 2) (#14)
by malikcoates on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 04:19:23 PM EST

Well, at least it's much simpler than most of the other stuff I've heard suggested so far. I put this in the previous thread as well but I was late to join the discussion.

When you think about it most of the complex solutions sugested so far will lead to even more posts about changing story moderation/front page selection. I think we can put it in the people's hands and actually solve most of this problem.

My suggestion is to make these changes

  • Replace the current vote -1/0/+1 system for stories with an average score 1-5, like we do for each post currently.
  • Allow users to configure thresholds by category. A threshold would be a minimum number of votes and average score that a story requires to be on the front page.
  • What is currently the story moderation page, would just show all articles at a much lower threshold
Consequences of this might include
  • The ability to select the best of a section, for example the best diaries from today or this week.
  • If you can set thresholds by sections, then you get the customizable front page described
  • there might be a problem with stories you like disappearing from your front page if thier average goes down
  • It does not account for a pre-editting stage as rusty has recently suggested we have.
  • I think most of the complaints about front-page/section only posting would go away.
  • You will not get the same feeling of failure when your post doesn't get posted.. It will just have a low score
  • This means there are some obvious problems with "when do we remove a low scored story?". I'm not sure... but considering we are doing diaries maybe it isn't a big concern.
I'd love to help out with code if people think this is a good way to go. What do you think?

A couple suggestions (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by rusty on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 07:44:09 PM EST

Yes, this is absolutely a good idea. And if you do it, that'll save me from having to do it. :-)

A couple ideas on HOWTO: I'd like to see the custom page be separate from the "Front Page" as such. It'd be like "your home page", and whenever you don't specifically ask for another page, that's what you'd get. But I'd like the standard front page to remain available also.

There was another idea, but now I've forgotten it. Damn.

____
Not the real rusty

I want! (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by enterfornone on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 07:55:34 PM EST

All this. Also, it would be nice to be able to have a section containing certain peoples diaries (so you don't miss new diaries from your fave people). And be able to pull an RDF from any external site. I'm sure I'll think of more later. Site Themes/Skins (like t.o) would be nice too, but not really part of this topic.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
You might (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by aphrael on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 10:26:58 PM EST

want to leave a backdoor to override this:

Ability to ban certain sections from your frontpage regardless of how many +1 frontpage votes it got.

Under the theory that once in a while it may be necessary to have a global announcement, or some such thing.

Basically, i'm arguing that any implementation of the idea should leave enough flexibility that the 'ban' is in essence a 'much, much, much higher threshold' rather than a ban; targets should be sliding lines rather than hard walls.

A Customizable Front Page: Do You Want It? | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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