TR Chat Box

Hang out, sip some ice tea, and shoot the breeze with TR regulars.

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Re: TR Chat Box

Postposted on Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:39 pm

I don't have an objection to chat per se, and ultimately my opinion doesn't matter anyway -- that's up to the folks who own, run, and implement the site. As a user I'm not a fan of anything that makes the site "heavier" but again, I don't even have Flash or Java installed on the systems I usually use to read TR, so ultimately that wouldn't affect me much either unless it was purely an HTML5/JS implementation. However...
Bensam123 wrote:I don't understand... You're using a hyperbole to argue your point. I'm not suggesting the forums should be removed.
I am employing no hyperbole and my objections are not based on removing the forums. I'm suggesting that any technical Q&A that happens in live chat won't be captured by the mechanisms we now rely on, and to the extent that such discussion move over to chat we'll see a loss of utility in the forums. We probably have no way of knowing how many folks arrived at TR by following search results that led them to a days- or months-old thread that answered their question, but we know it does happen: the LNS4051 power on problem thread is one of the first results from Google for folks searching for help with that TV, and gets a large number of first-time TR users. If the long-time TR user who started that thread had used a chat box instead, and thus that thread had never existed, what then?

You often don't know in advance which questions will lead to long-lasting, useful answers, and you almost never know when an ensuing discussion will take a productive, interesting, or important turn. So is there mechanism to easily capture a portion of a chat and integrate it into the forums, or at least be as easily searchable and discoverable after the fact? And can we count on folks to use it?
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Re: TR Chat Box

Postposted on Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:36 pm

Kurotetsu wrote:
Bensam123 wrote:Yuh... and you have to click links to do it or go back to the news page or keep more then one tab open... That doesn't help accessibility and visibility--


.....wow. That is....wow.

I love TechReport, I really do, but every now and again I run into this really weird atmosphere of absolutely incredible laziness. Like people complaining about 2-3lbs laptops being too heavy, or in this case, where apparently clicking a link or opening tab is seen as unacceptable? Or too much effort? Or just something worth complaining about? I mean, really?

I got no problem with a chatbox, but arguing that its needed because the current site is too inaccessible seems really silly to me? Adding a chatbox won't really make the site anymore accessible, since using it will likely require you to login. Logging in requires clicking a link, and typing, both of which clearly hurt accessibility and visibility.


Perhaps, maybe, think outside of your little enclosed ecosystem to a world where people don't live and breath TR. They don't go out of their way to look for things they want and they didn't come to the forums with the intention of participating for extended periods of time. This topic isn't just about me, don't spin it that way. This is about catching peoples eye, getting them to participate more, making information readily available whenever they need it. To draw them in and make them a part of the community.

This has absolutely nothing to do with being lazy. Uber is the only one making it seem that way, it's not the intent of my post or any of the posts that followed.


JohnC wrote:Don't really see how this pointless feature would be "interesting"... All of the other forums I visit (including all the car-related or computer hardware-related) function just perfectly without it. For off-topic conversations the "Off-topic" forum sections work just perfectly, for more personal conversations the "Private Message" forum function also works perfectly.


You aren't required to use it, activate it, or even see it. I've seen plenty of sites where it perfectly compliments other formats of communication. You can't have anywhere near the same level of conversation through PMs which function like email verse a live chat with actual people. I'm sorry to hear you believe that live chat has no inherent social benefits.

UberGerbil wrote:...and to the extent that such discussion move over to chat we'll see a loss of utility in the forums.


That is what I meant about hyperbole and making it seem like the forums would simply be removed. You're implying that a chat box would simply superceded the forums. That is not the case in any implementation I've seen, not to mention you could simply not answer questions in a chat box, not visit it, or even be required to use it. Who cares if redundancy happens? Why does a social environment have to be fit inside a tiny predefined box? No one says this has to be used for tech support or can't be for that matter. It's whatever you want it to be, that's the nature of it being open ended.

Although I can see you're a little bit OCD about the idea of anything meaningful being lost on the internet, that does go with the territory and in this case it's alright... I personally don't use the forums often as they take up way too much time. I could see myself using a chat box on and off as there aren't predefined conversations that you have to visit and issue a response to. Forums are a huge time commitment if you want to get involved in them.
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Re: TR Chat Box

Postposted on Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:33 am

Bensam123 wrote:Perhaps, maybe, think outside of your little enclosed ecosystem to a world where people don't live and breath TR.

Uh, then why did they come here in the first place? For the dymt thread?

Extended debates about "expanding the community" are a red herring IMO. What attracts the most users is not the method, it is whether a good member culture has already been established via years of demonstrated quality in the host website ("are there interesting, reasonable people carrying the discussions?"), and whether the moderators are even-keeled and efficient ("will I be treated fairly?"). For TR, "yes" on both counts.
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ludi
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Re: TR Chat Box

Postposted on Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:44 am

Bensam123 wrote:Perhaps, maybe, think outside of your little enclosed ecosystem to a world where people don't live and breath TR. They don't go out of their way to look for things they want and they didn't come to the forums with the intention of participating for extended periods of time. This topic isn't just about me, don't spin it that way. This is about catching peoples eye, getting them to participate more, making information readily available whenever they need it. To draw them in and make them a part of the community.
A lot of people find TR through Google searches for issues they are having and Google has indexed the forums thoroughly. This is one of the reasons why we have so much spam to fight, TR is highly ranked on Google search so if the spammers can get a link to stick then they get in Google's results. A chatbox offers no ability to be indexed by the search engines so is less likely to attract new visitors.

The mods work hard to keep the forums clean of spam and arsehattery, how do you propose to stop the chatbox becoming a continual flood of spam, links to porn sites, hate-filled posts and kids dropping the f-bomb?
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Re: TR Chat Box

Postposted on Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:06 am

Bensam123 wrote:Perhaps, maybe, think outside of your little enclosed ecosystem to a world where people don't live and breath TR.


Your issue when they made that comment was an inability to find new forum threads or keep track of thread discussions. UberGerbil and JustAnEngineer pointed out several resources for doing just that, both of which are completely exposed right on the front page by default and don't require you to register and/or login. Your solution, the chatbox, would NOT be exposed on the front page by default because it would require you to register and/or login first (a suggestion you yourself made earlier in this thread to accommodate people who don't want to see the chatbox by default). Your solution requires a greater investment in the site ("living and breathing TR" as you describe it) than the solutions already provided. The only real "drawback" is that they require you to move your eyes toward the top of the page or click a link. If you can't manage that on a daily basis, lack of a chatbox is the least of your problems.

They don't go out of their way to look for things they want and they didn't come to the forums with the intention of participating for extended periods of time.


There's no need to look for something that's exposed and accessible right on the front page without any need to invest in the site.

This topic isn't just about me, don't spin it that way. This is about catching peoples eye, getting them to participate more, making information readily available whenever they need it. To draw them in and make them a part of the community.


Your Chatbox idea accomplishes none of that.

It would not be enabled for anyone who hasn't registered or logged in. So its less accessible than what is already available in terms of finding new discussions or keeping track of current ones.

Given the nature of live chat any discussion taking place within it would be pushed down into oblivion at a far faster rate than any forum thread (that's not even taking into account how a particular discussion can be obscured by several simultaneous discussions, which will happen in a live chat), making them harder to follow and unavailable to new users. Even now, a cursory observation of the forum shows people responding to threads that are over 5 years old. That's a level of accessibility and availability that no chatbox can match. Hell, even IRC is better because your client can at least keep a local log of all the discussion happening inside the channel.

Given the numbers of posters on TR, over 22,000 going by the posted forum stats, with over 250 of them online at the same time, and considering how many of them have post counts in the hundreds if not thousands, I would argue that the site in its current form has no issues drawing in new users and making them a part of the community. Your chatbox doesn't make discussion easier to follow, it actually makes it harder, and due to its inherent lack of moderation it makes an easy target for all sorts of unsavory elements that would usually be stomped out on the forums. Allowing that to be exposed to new users diminishes TR as a site and as a community by giving them a bad impression of who participates here. You can already catch a glimpse of that on the front page comments, which is a stomping ground for a few very notable trolls.

This has absolutely nothing to do with being lazy. Uber is the only one making it seem that way, it's not the intent of my post or any of the posts that followed.


Whatever you say.

Again, I'm not against a Chatbox. But it doesn't solve any of the problems you seem to think it does.

I think a better idea would be to mimic the "Live Support" functionality a few websites have. A TR staff member could host a live chat specifically for asking questions to that staff member. Different members would be available at different times of the day. It doesn't allow for general chat, which would obscure information, and would probably allow for actual moderation.

EDIT:

Then again the "Staff Tweets" section kind of already does that....
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Re: TR Chat Box

Postposted on Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:41 pm

Bensam123 wrote:I've seen plenty of sites where it perfectly compliments other formats of communication.

Please provide examples of such sites - where a chatbox actually provides any practical use aside from such nonsense conversations as "what's up? - my dick is up, lolololol! -whatcha doin'? -scratching my balls, olololol!" or an additional source of spam advertisements.
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Re: TR Chat Box

Postposted on Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:11 pm

Bensam123 wrote:That is what I meant about hyperbole and making it seem like the forums would simply be removed. You're implying that a chat box would simply superceded the forums. That is not the case in any implementation I've seen, not to mention you ould simply not answer questions in a chat box, not visit it, or even be required to use it. Who cares if redundancy happens?
I am not talking about implementation. At all. My objection is not about the tech, it's about how people might use it. I'm not worried about redundancy, I'm worried about the lack of it. I don't care if shoot-the-breeze conversation happens in a chatbox. But if technical conversation happens there, and only there, then the forums suffer, and the site as a whole suffers, because the forums are a good chunk of both the collective memory and the externally-discoverable "face" of the site. (Again, unless the chatbox has some retention mechanism that allows that valuable content to be saved and searched)

Now it may be that virtually nothing of any lasting value will ever be written in the chatbox... but then I wonder at investing any development resources in creating it. Especially since there are plenty of other ways to do that kind of thing on the internet already; as Kurotetsu points out, Twitter even includes many TR staff and notables already. (And it at least is somewhat searchable and persistent)

I'm sorry that the forums threaten to take up so much of your time. But I'd argue that that is a measure of their quality, and insurance that it continues, and thus that the time spent on the forums isn't wasted. Personally, content-free, or low-content, "chat" seems far more wasteful of my time, which is why you don't see me showing up in the DYMT thread and many of the other back porch threads (or on Twitter, for that matter)
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Re: TR Chat Box

Postposted on Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:43 pm

ludi wrote:Uh, then why did they come here in the first place? For the dymt thread?

Extended debates about "expanding the community" are a red herring IMO. What attracts the most users is not the method, it is whether a good member culture has already been established via years of demonstrated quality in the host website ("are there interesting, reasonable people carrying the discussions?"), and whether the moderators are even-keeled and efficient ("will I be treated fairly?"). For TR, "yes" on both counts.


It doesn't matter why they came to the forums in the first place it's to get them to stay for longer. To attract their attention and make them become active members. The forums right now are all business and if you like your social community run like a business I guess all the more power to you. People aren't businesses though. Even if they come here to look for suggestion for upgrading their PSU, that doesn't mean it's the reason why they stay.

Humans aren't always logical creatures that look at the pros and cons of a social atmosphere, weigh it accordingly, and then decide if they want to stay or not based on package deals they get at every website. Be a bit realistic here. There is an entire area of social science based around this and it's not engineering.

notfred wrote:A lot of people find TR through Google searches for issues they are having and Google has indexed the forums thoroughly. This is one of the reasons why we have so much spam to fight, TR is highly ranked on Google search so if the spammers can get a link to stick then they get in Google's results. A chatbox offers no ability to be indexed by the search engines so is less likely to attract new visitors.


The forums wont disappear, stop implying they will if a chat box appears. They'll carry on just as they have.

Be a bit realistic when it comes to swearing too. Lets not turn this into a discussion of parental responsibility.

Kurotetsu wrote:Your issue when they made that comment was an inability to find new forum threads or keep track of thread discussions. UberGerbil and JustAnEngineer pointed out several resources for doing just that, both of which are completely exposed right on the front page by default and don't require you to register and/or login. Your solution, the chatbox, would NOT be exposed on the front page by default because it would require you to register and/or login first (a suggestion you yourself made earlier in this thread to accommodate people who don't want to see the chatbox by default).


Two different issues. I made more then one suggestion. The chatbox had nothing to do with thread visibility and vice versa. That applies to the rest of your quotes. There is more then one idea floating around in this thread.

JohnC wrote:Please provide examples of such sites - where a chatbox actually provides any practical use aside from such nonsense conversations as "what's up? - my dick is up, lolololol! -whatcha doin'? -scratching my balls, olololol!" or an additional source of spam advertisements.


You must be great fun at parties.

UberGerbil wrote:I am not talking about implementation. At all. My objection is not about the tech, it's about how people might use it. I'm not worried about redundancy, I'm worried about the lack of it. I don't care if shoot-the-breeze conversation happens in a chatbox. But if technical conversation happens there, and only there, then the forums suffer, and the site as a whole suffers, because the forums are a good chunk of both the collective memory and the externally-discoverable "face" of the site. (Again, unless the chatbox has some retention mechanism that allows that valuable content to be saved and searched)

Now it may be that virtually nothing of any lasting value will ever be written in the chatbox... but then I wonder at investing any development resources in creating it. Especially since there are plenty of other ways to do that kind of thing on the internet already; as Kurotetsu points out, Twitter even includes many TR staff and notables already. (And it at least is somewhat searchable and persistent)


Hence my statement about hyperbole. You're completely OCD about ultra meaningful conversations lost in the depths of the interwebs for ever more. Do you carefully write down every conversation that takes place in real life? Somethings are volatile and by that nature they're completely different then things that aren't. Both in how people perceive, approach, and interact with them. A chat box may not have anything meaningful ever said in it, but what to YOU and to ME is meaningful? Meaningful to me might be and interesting and insightful conversation that took place in a volatile piece of media. Heck it might just be that the conversation took place. It doesn't bug me that it's gone forever and it doesn't bug me that it was happened upon on a whim. You can't always distill social interaction into a carefully formatted piece of information.

Maybe this really isn't even about having a chatbox or losing information, it's about some of you not being able to read and preside over every conversation that hits this website, which makes you angsty. Something might happen that you missed. Looking at the post counts of those that are completely against this, it makes complete sense too.

If it really bugs you I'm sure you could log the chatbox for all that's worth and have it's entire contents dumped on a page for the rest of time so google can crawl it...
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Re: TR Chat Box

Postposted on Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:06 pm

Bensam123 wrote:You must be great fun at parties.

Does that mean your whole topic was just a lame attempt at trolling? Since you can't even find a good example of a useful, spam-free, properly moderated chatbox implementation?

Look, if you want to have a pointless momentary conversations about some nonsense with some instant-on "what's up?"-buddy and if you for some screwed-up reason think that forums are "too slow" or "too inaccessible" for that - you have plenty of choices to satisfy that need: text message someone using your smartphone's built-in function, or download one of the billions of available social network apps, or get an IM program for whatever electronic device you use, then post the relevant information into your forum signature/profile. If there will be enough people willing to discuss such nonsense with you in "real time" - they can use same existing programs and contact you. That's it, PROBLEM SOLVED. No need for site/forum administrators to waste their time on adding in redundant fluff like chatboxes with highly questionable utility and an unknown number of potential future users - instead they can focus their time on more serious issues from which ALL of the site/forum users can actually BENEFIT, issues like preventing more human-generated spam (both in forums and comments section), making forums more accessible to users of mobile internet-enabled devices, making "voting" system in "comments" section actually usable, and so on.
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Re: TR Chat Box

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 3:42 am

I didn't post anything because that's essentially what talking to people in real life is. You're trying to fundamentally tear apart social interaction and make it seem like it is cause effect, that it needs to be, more so then that - it doesn't. People like to communicate with others just for the fun of it. To get to know each other and bond a bit, maybe form a camaraderie. That's what socializing is... I hope I don't need to outline a definition of it. :(

A chat box wouldn't take that much to implement, there are plenty around the web that are ready made and integrate with forums. All you have to do is make something to hide it nice and neatly.
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