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[P]
Separate "Forums" section?

By b!X in News
Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 12:13:03 AM EST
Tags: Scoop (all tags)
Scoop

Ok, Slashcode apparently didn't like this question, so I'll ask it about Scoop instead.

The way Scoop and other Slash offshoots seem to structure themselves is that, in essence, each posted Article is also inherently the start of a discussion Thread.

Is there any way to make Scoop do the following instead: Since each Artcle is also assigned into a Topic, make a discussion area that is divided into those same Topics, and then rather than a link after each Article to discussions on that article, there'd be a link saying "discuss this in our [whatever the article's Topic is] forum".


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Separate "Forums" section? | 37 comments (37 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
More on [Scoop] ... (none / 0) (#6)
by evro on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 08:56:35 PM EST

evro voted -1 on this story.

More on [Scoop]

I don't really see why this isn't what you want.
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

Re: More on [Scoop]... (none / 0) (#18)
by b!X on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 01:31:14 AM EST

Is that sort of link (More on [Scoop]) something that appears somewhere by default and automatically, or for that matter something that is reasonably simply (within the existing configuration structure, rather than something that'd have to be changed in the code itself) added to the end of each Article when it's posted? Like, say, a "Read more" link and then an "other Article/Threads in [Scoop]" link?

For the sort of thing I'm going to need Slash or Scoop for, that might be a reasonable in-between that the future site could accept, especially in connection with the Hotlist feature, which for some reason I only just noticed today, and would at least allow my users to more easily find the conversations they were following.



[ Parent ]
This is a good story and a good top... (none / 0) (#9)
by Velian on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 08:59:45 PM EST

Velian voted 1 on this story.

This is a good story and a good topic, but not a good idea.

"Please don't do this" is my response to this idea. Unless I misread, that idea would basically do the site in. Not only would these forums go incredibly off-topic, but it'd discourage people from bothering, it'd confuse people, it'd eventually have way too much activity (even with the decreased audience), and worst of all, it'd make it so people would have to write, "STORYNAME: Normal post topic here," which would lead to suggestions for, uh, our current system.

But, I do like the idea of general forums. I'd like to see the "What Now?" thread renamed to something like "Ideas For Improvement" or somesuch, made permanent, the link made more visible and possibly even coded a little differently than article threads (a permanent forum might need some different features).

Slashdot desperately needs a place to discuss certain topics (ex: "what to do about hot grits"). Yes, a lot of people know about the creation of hidden sids - but normally the only way they ever get much traffic is from people who advertise them in their .sigs, and that's not many people... who advertise them, or see the advertisements.

Re: This is a good story and a good top... (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 08:36:48 PM EST

Although this system would have advantages - retaining great posts for much easier access (ie, a brilliant post in the slash model is practically lost after a month) - I agree I wouldn't like this done.

Each story is categorized into a generic group (Internet,Hardware,blah) but taking that topic and begining a stories discussion within that area would be fraught with difficulty. As within that group you'd have to choose a sub-topic (effectively being a post that you can thread off; that accurately describes the theme of the article) and thus comes the problems with a hierarchical structure of information. Where should the article go? Is it Culture/Internet/Trolls or Internet/People/Deviant? Mis-categorising now has more annoying reprecusions.

You'd end up with a mess like Yahoo!. Dewey decimal system's are flawed and don't allow mirroring of content.

Practically the only benefit I see of a topic based hierarchy of article/post's is that it would make researching and retaining information easier (not good information necessarily, just "information"). But to achieve this there needs to be an abstraction between the usual articles/posts and the hierachy - make two sides of a site.

1. Post articles, post posts, A la Slash.
2. Posts are voted as "good information", then voted into hierachacy structure (read: good information is mirrored within the hieracachy where-ever relevant).

This would change the purpose of a forum somewhat though. The great Slashdot posts swamped in shite and trolls bring a tear to my eye, every time.

[ Parent ]

This isn't necessarily a bad idea. ... (none / 0) (#14)
by aor on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 09:01:40 PM EST

aor voted 1 on this story.

This isn't necessarily a bad idea.

I think, though, that muddles the concept a little bit, and it would certainly weaken on-topic discussion. A more ideal solution would be for those posting/reading from the article to just see messages related to the article, while those posting in the more generic "forum" could see those articles, plus others.

And while you're making big changes to the way scoop works, it would be nice to have all the accessible by a real newsreader, rather than the web. Discussion forums on the web are incredibly cumbersome.

--
Michael Bruce
web@jhereg.net
-- Michael Bruce web@jhereg.net

Definitely worth a discussion :)... (1.00 / 1) (#8)
by julian on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 09:17:41 PM EST

julian voted 1 on this story.

Definitely worth a discussion :)
-- Julian (x-virge)

Well, 0.5 is coming, so if anyone w... (none / 0) (#1)
by rusty on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 09:33:00 PM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

Well, 0.5 is coming, so if anyone wants to hack this in, you're more than welcome to! :-)

I personally like how there's a thread per story. I think moving discussion off to a separate area makes it less immediate and valuable. I would like a way to create continuing discussion forums, though, that are not necessarily attached to a transient story, but to a more general "This thread is for discussing X" post.

____
Not the real rusty

Re: Well, 0.5 is coming, so if anyone w... (none / 0) (#26)
by Stormbringer on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 03:32:19 PM EST

Hmmm... threads use vertical (chronological, i.e. causal) linking, where wikis use horizontal (associative) linking... I wonder how hard it'd be to come up with a structural format that combines the two.

[ Parent ]
Re: Well, 0.5 is coming, so if anyone w... (none / 0) (#27)
by analog on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 03:45:21 PM EST

Okay, Rusty, you're tempting me to learn Perl, which is really just an evil, nasty thing to do. You should be ashamed. You sure you wouldn't rather write Scoop in PHP or Python?

Anyway, thinking about the continuing discussion thing, I think the Hotlist already goes a long way toward helping with that, although I'm not sure how many people actually know it's there. Something that might be a neat feature is changing the color of the number of comments next to the link if a new one was added since the last time someone read a story. I can think of at least a couple of different ways to do this, but I'm sure you'll come up with something clever and efficient. ;)

I think you could do a couple of different things with stories that move off the front page. One is to just have an 'older stuff' link, ala that legacy site. Another idea might be to have a box on the front page that has links to the five most active stories, say. Or maybe just the most active story per section. Again, lots of ways to do things.

Something I would keep in mind, though, is that it's okay to break the original structure. When Rob first started (and designed) Slashdot, it was smaller than Kuro5hin is now for quite a while. Since then, he's kind of just hacked on additional features but left the basic structure the same. I don't know what you've got going with Scoop 0.5, but if the basic layout starts getting in the way, change it (yeah, I know, it seems obvious, but I'm constantly amazed at how often someone *cough* me *cough* who's close to a problem will miss an obvious solution).

[ Parent ]

Re: Well, 0.5 is coming, so if anyone w... (none / 0) (#28)
by rusty on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 03:49:49 PM EST

I think at somne point soon we'll have a three-column layout, to accomodate more controls and box-type things. And I agree with you, that if a layout doesn't work, it must change. We'll see where it goes, with the new code. Still waiting for sourceforge, BTW-- we're all set to go, here....

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Heck yeah... I think this is gettin... (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by Notromda on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 09:34:39 PM EST

Notromda voted 1 on this story.

Heck yeah... I think this is getting closer to something I've been thinking about... Sometimes, it seems like discussion gets cut off early because the story scrolls off the bottom of the screen, or I find a story really late... Sometimes I reply to a story thinking that no one is actually going to read it. (Watch out, Rusty does actually track messsages in old stories... ;)

I think this would be a good step in the right direction. In addition, I'd like to be able to click a "mark thread as read" link, which upon my return, new messages would be easily seen. To keep the number of conversations to a reasonable level, maybe an option to hide a given discussion tree could be added, so that it doesn't clutter up the screen.

New messages would need maybe one or two levels of history easily available, to refresh the context... Ok, I'm babbling here... anyone else see what I'm saying? help me out... :)

I don't actually like the idea, at ... (none / 0) (#13)
by Eimi on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 09:57:20 PM EST

Eimi voted 1 on this story.

I don't actually like the idea, at least as I understand it. But it is a good trigger for conversation. What I would like to see is the addition of some sort of free floating threads (sort of like the "hidden" threads in slash). Perhaps the same topics that the stories are partitioned into could each hold a permanent thread about them. But do keep the separate discussions for each article.

Dunno if it's a good idea, but nice... (none / 0) (#3)
by fvw on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 09:59:34 PM EST

fvw voted 1 on this story.

Dunno if it's a good idea, but nice to consider anyway.

Yes! This would make searching much... (none / 0) (#4)
by xah on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 10:21:21 PM EST

xah voted 1 on this story.

Yes! This would make searching much easier for old, useful articles (esp those with technical information).

I think Ars Technica (www.arstechni... (none / 0) (#5)
by mattc on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 10:22:58 PM EST

mattc voted 0 on this story.

I think Ars Technica (www.arstechnica.com) does something like this, although it looks like it is conveniently offline at the moment :-) Their software is called "OpenForum" -- I don't know if the source is available or not.

Re: I think Ars Technica (www.arstechni... (none / 0) (#17)
by Velian on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 01:15:49 AM EST

They're adding (done?) "OpenForum 2.0." That's why it is (was?) down.

I find it doesn't work very well. I like specific topics like this, with a few general forums.

[ Parent ]

Since scoop is open source, I suppo... (none / 0) (#2)
by bmetzler on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 10:26:22 PM EST

bmetzler voted 0 on this story.

Since scoop is open source, I suppose you could grab the source and make it do whatever you want. IMO, I doubt it would be too hard to change the code to do as you suggest
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.

Re: Since scoop is open source, I suppo... (none / 0) (#24)
by henrik on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 05:45:38 AM EST

No! Scoop isn't open source! Rusty has started with the same kind of fascism that the evil /. Rob has forever!

I politely asked for the source, and that Rusty person, inspired by /... And what did i get? "You have to wait 24 more hours now" - go see it yourself.

Stand up and be counted! The revolution is coming, we will not tolerate oppressive site operators anymore!

For those of you that didn't understand this as a joke - just ignore me.

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]

Re: Since scoop is open source, I suppo... (none / 0) (#25)
by rusty on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 01:49:21 PM EST

Argh. :-) That was one of those "Oops" moments.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: Since scoop is open source, I suppo... (none / 0) (#30)
by bmetzler on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 04:51:12 PM EST

That was one of those "Oops" moments.

Perhaps you should tell them the real reason you can't release the source yet :)

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
[ Parent ]
Re: Since scoop is open source, I suppo... (none / 0) (#31)
by rusty on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 05:02:02 PM EST

Yeah, right now we're waiting for sourceforge to get their end going. We'd like to provide the requisite open-source project services... they're taking their sweet time though...

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
I'd rather not see the software go ... (none / 0) (#10)
by locutus074 on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 11:06:34 PM EST

locutus074 voted 1 on this story.

I'd rather not see the software go in that direction. It seems as though it'd be too confusing to have 20 different stories discussed on the same page. To make matters worse, expiring older stuff would be a bitch. Manual intervention would be a major PITA, but it you automated the procedure, you'd risk killing off good discussion.

Summary: I'm voting 1 for the story, as therein lies the potential for some useful discussion, but I'm voting -1 on actually putting it into practice. :)
--
"If you haven't gotten where you're going,
you aren't there yet." --George Carlin

This is what some large news sites ... (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by pvg on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 11:57:09 PM EST

pvg voted 0 on this story.

This is what some large news sites do and it is very problematic, especially if you don't read daily. It also tends to make flaminess more likely as the number of specific topics and users is greater.

There is something to be said for allowing greater flexibility on how discussions are viewed (by article, grouped by topic, by date, etc). Generalize the problem you are trying to solve slightly - it won't make the implementation harder but the solution could be much more flexible.

<voice name="Ringo Starr>I th... (none / 0) (#7)
by fluffy grue on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 12:13:03 AM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

<voice name="Ringo Starr>I think it's a grand idea!</voice>

Seriously, I think having forum sorts of things would be a good idea, but not the way it's suggested, at least if I'm understanding what you're saying. It's kind of nice to have each discussion thread separate. However, on the other hand, it would also be nice to have them mingling together, especially on this site where there's not much discussion and what there is tends to be rather interrelated. Maybe having something more like an 'unrolled forum' view for those who want it would be nice; that is, you see a single, unified discussion forum with the root comments being the articles they're supposed to be based off of. As far as how to handle new root threads, though, the idea kind of falls apart.

Really, I dunno. I see too many news sites just lumping all their discussion into a single, rotating discussion board. Either you have to cull old discussion or you have to deal with potentially a LOT of overhead since all forum views would require the parsing of ALL comment tables or something (I don't know how whether scoop just keys comments by the sid they're attached to or if it puts them in separate tables or what, but regardless, having no primary key like that still can't make SQL's job any easier).

So count me split on whether this is a good idea or not, actual implementations aside. Good idea for further discussion.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Re: I th... (none / 0) (#15)
by rusty on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 12:35:05 AM EST

PRIMARY KEY (sid,cid)

:-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: I th... (none / 0) (#20)
by fluffy grue on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 01:51:05 AM EST

From what I know about SQL, that means that you've got all the comments in one big-ass table, but at least most SQL implementations should be able to relatively-quickly select based on the primary key anyway. Unless I'm mistaken. And it'd rely heavily on how you structure your queries. Oh well, Slashdot hasn't melted yet and they do it the same way, right? (as evidenced by the fact that there's things such as sid=moderation)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: I th... (none / 0) (#23)
by rusty on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 02:33:50 AM EST

Yes-- the DB structure of scoop is *very* similar to slash (i.e. uses the same tables, with a few additions and deletions here and there). All comments are in one big table, with PK sid,cid. So selects are still very fast, since they always involve the primary key index. At some point I'm going to have to start archiving stuff, just so the DB doesn't grow to outrageous proportions, but there's a little time yet. More important now is to expire old session data-- that's the part that's getting out of hand.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: I th... (none / 0) (#34)
by scorpion on Sun Apr 23, 2000 at 09:26:02 AM EST

Can you break the DB structure into three sections: 1. current (for a given time period) 2. an archive section (again based on a time frame) 3. a remote archive for very old stuff

[ Parent ]
a good idea, but go slow (none / 0) (#16)
by xah on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 12:49:43 AM EST

The creation of *many* forums would result in most of them not getting used. But the creation of one forum could help meet a need not being met--the need to reach out and ask technical questions. A single forum could meet this need. If it overflows, divide it.

With a continuing forum, the main topic posts to K5 will regularly reinvigorate discussion, but discussion can always flow coherently in the forum without losing stride when the topic disappears.

Re: a good idea, but go slow (none / 0) (#22)
by rusty on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 02:30:26 AM EST

the need to reach out and ask technical questions

There's a new topic in town-- "Help!" I hope people will ask more technical quaetions, and use the topic, as I've enjoyed the ones so far. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Why? (none / 0) (#19)
by FlinkDelDinky on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 01:50:57 AM EST

I just don't care for this idea.

If an article inspires us we'll discuss it, that's why that article was posted in the first place. Also, why dilute good discussions based on good topics with lesser discussions?

Why make something bigger and more general than it has to be? Keep things as simple and straight forward as possible. Keep things clean.

Re: Separate "Forums" section? (none / 0) (#21)
by pretzelgod on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 02:08:22 AM EST

I don't like this idea. It would be nice to have persistent forums, but i don't
think they should replace per-article threads. There are quite a few problems
with this, but others have already listed these, and i don't see the need to
repeat them.

-- 
Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


Re: Separate "Forums" section? (none / 0) (#29)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 04:26:19 PM EST

Let me recommend that those who are interested in topic-based discussion check out Citadel and Uncensored, a Citadel-based BBS.

This software has been around for twenty years, and has proven itself as an excellent medium for discussion-oriented communication.



A good reason for separate forums like this (none / 0) (#32)
by fluffy grue on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 08:07:22 PM EST

Little random comments like this are hard to fit in anywhere, but certainly don't merit their own story: (I'm just lucky this topic's around so I can bring this up)

It looks like Intel isn't releasing a 666MHz Celeron. That is, they are, but they're actually rounding up from 666.66 to label it as a 667MHz chip, breaking their usual policy of rounding down (400, 433.33->433, 450, 466.66->466, etc.). My guess as to why they're doing this is that they don't want to upset people by having a devilishly fast processor.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Re: Separate "Forums" section? (none / 0) (#35)
by kraant on Mon Apr 24, 2000 at 10:02:52 AM EST

Why do people feel the desperate need to reinvent the wheel constantly.

UseNet is perfect for what this guy wants

daniel - who is eagerly awaiting the release of the scoop source on sourceforge
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...

Re: Separate "Forums" section? (none / 0) (#36)
by rusty on Mon Apr 24, 2000 at 12:24:36 PM EST

Psst-- don't tell 'em I told you this, but... look here. :-)

We're waiting to announce till the scoop support site is up, and the tarball is tarred. But the code's in CVS *right now*!

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Separate "Forums" section? (none / 0) (#37)
by Strider on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 09:19:58 AM EST

I think that one way to promote discussion would be to keep more stories on the front page. Each story would have it's own discussion thread (like now), but readers could peruse the 20-25 stories in their own time. If stories make it to the front page with the same frequency as they do now, a single story would be on the front page for several days.

Anyway... just a suggestion.


---
"it's like having gravity suddenly replaced by cheez-whiz" - rusty
Separate "Forums" section? | 37 comments (37 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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