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Major update to dpreview forums coming soon: tell us what you think

By dpreview staff on Sep 27, 2012 at 23:04 GMT

In an ongoing effort to improve the performance and user experience on dpreview, we've rewritten and redesigned the forums, and will be launching the new version in a few days. From a look-and-feel standpoint, we made an effort to stay faithful to the core of the old design (no point throwing out the bits that work well) and from a functional standpoint, we focused on adding, rather than removing features.

The new forums look a bit different (nicer, we think) and are built on totally different code, so there will inevitably be a few things you'll have to get used to. Below you'll find some images of the new design and descriptions of what's new, and what's been changed. We encourage you to provide feedback, positive or critical, as we make the finishing touches. We're nearly ready, but if there's anything we've missed, we want to know before this goes live. 

As we set out on what ended up being the major task of redesigning our forums, we had two main goals. As well as adding some long-overdue features that bring our forums into the 21st Century, we also focused on addressing the most common comments and criticisms that we get in user feedback.

For example, there is a lot of great information and advice shared in the forums every day, but it is often difficult to find. To solve this, we implemented a number of new navigation and design aspects that will both help users find what they were looking for, and hopefully, discover a few things along the way.

Here's a quick outline of the new forums - please let us know what you think.


Top-level forum pages:

The new forum index pictured above shows off the new color schemes and increased spacing that pervades the rest of the forums design.

Posting and viewing pages:

The posting and viewing pages have also been substantially reworked:

The posting panel is now a full WYSIWYG interface, with buttons on the right for directly linking to an image on the internet, for uploading from your computer or for pulling an image from your dpreview gallery.

The main viewing screen has a number of changes. Dots next to each post appear white for unread posts and turn grey once read. At the forum level, partially-read threads will be represented by half-white dots. Note also the ability to preview a post by hovering over the post.

The record of which posts you've read will now be stored on our servers, not in your browser, so the read status of threads will be correct whatever device you log-in on.

Questions and Answers

For years we've been discussing ways in which we could make it easier for users can find the information they are looking for on dpreview in general, and the forums specifically. We've made some progress on our product search and comparison tools, but we recognize that forum threads often contain extremely useful information on a wide range of topics, and it isn't exposed very well. To this end, we've introduced a new thread type, 'Questions', which enables you to specifically mark a post as a question.

Once you're happy that the question has been answered, you can mark the best, most useful response as a 'top answer' for all to see. We plan to begin displaying the top questions throughout the site on product pages and widgets to help existing users and newcomers find the most interesting and useful posts.

The original poster can identify which response best answers their question. Once marked as answered, subsequent visitors can jump straight to the selected answer.
The selected answer post is clearly marked, but can be de-selected if a better answer is given later. Answered and unanswered threads are easily visible and can be used as filters, so you can find questions still in need of an answer.

User and post ranking

It has been a long time coming, but, we've added user rankings into user profiles. In this initial version a user's ranking is defined simply by the number of posts they've made and the date they signed up. However, in the near future we will be incorporating a considerably more complex logic which uses forum and site activity to influence ranking.

Additionally, we've incorporated ratings into the forums, so as you browse through threads you can up- and down-vote posts. This will later be tied-in to user rankings and will also allow us to add a feature to rank posts by popularity - making it easier to get to the most interesting threads.
Individual posts can be up- or down-voted. Note also the white dots for unread posts and
Each post has voting tabs. Votes on the original post appear at forum level.

We realize that many users are so used to the existing design, for better or for worse, that we wanted to provide some options that will help put the choice in your hands as to how the forums work for you.

There's an option for a collapsed view, which more closely resembles the current forum view. And, at the bottom of the page, an option to view in the legacy custard colorscheme.

Full list of changes

New features:

  • WYSIWYG text editor (no more markup)
  • New 'Question and Answer' threads
  • New 'breadcrumb trails' and quick-jump navigation at the top of each page
  • New (larger) buttons for creating threads 
  • New search bar, removing an extra click
  • Voting on threads and individual posts
  • The ability to preview a post by hovering over it with your mouse
  • User rankings
  • Community mods – better moderation, based on feedback
  • Image viewer mode / lightbox for going through image (or text) heavy posts
  • More filter options and an easier-to-use feedback form for 'For Sale' threads
  • Direct upload of images into forum posts
  • Dialogs to insert image from web, from file, and from gallery
  • Read status of threads persistent across devices

 General style changes:

  • Fonts and rows are larger throughout the forums
  • Search is more prominent throughout forums
  • Compact view mode which condenses more posts vertically
  • A legacy color mode enabling users to view in yellow rather than blue
  • Improved icons throughout the forums
  • More keyboard shortcuts
  • More filter options
  • Post contents will be hidden if down-voted enough
  • User can one-click subscribe to thread updates
  • Ability to hide posts' 'subject' in threaded view (avoiding repetitive “Re: Subject” titles if subject is unchanged)
  • More prominent actions (Reply, Quote, etc.)
  • Easier to use controls for managing your 'For Sale' thread
  • EXIF (if available) from all sources of attached images

The key thing to realise though, is that, while these initial changes may not seem huge, they represent only the visible aspect of the months of hard work that has gone into totally re-coding the forums. There is a lot of data in the forums and we prioritized speed and consistency in how we approached this upgrade.

The old forums were originally written in 1999 and have done an admirable job in helping to build and foster the dpreview community into what it is today. But the software industry has come a long way since then, and adding new features onto a software platform that is no longer supported, as well as maintaining it was not an option if we wanted to provide new and exciting features to the community.

Now that the new forums are using a software platform with modern conveniences, we can react quickly to feedback provided by the community and easily add new features. (Different 'skins' for instance)

Comments

Total comments: 698
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chumphries
By chumphries (Nov 17, 2012)

Tapatalk support would be great. Participating on the forum is difficult by phone at best. I'd use this feature all the time. The keyboard on the iPhone does odd things when typing here.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Cyberman
By Cyberman (Oct 31, 2012)

Why do you have a separate option for Question when you start a new thread?

I've only just realised it's a separate option and the OP can't select "Answered" if they selected the traditional option of "New Thread". Why not solely have the "Question" option so the OP always has the option to select most relevant post?
The two different types of threads are not obvious within a forum, anyway. The only difference seems to be if the OP selects "New Thread" there's no way to select an answer, whereas if the OP selects "Question" they then have the option to select an Answer.

0 upvotes
rickztahone
By rickztahone (Oct 17, 2012)

I don't have enough time now to scroll all the way down to see if this was mentioned but I am getting a weird bug that when I quote someone in a thread and hit enter twice to skip two lines, the page freezes on me. It happens every single time, I'm very forgetful because I do this on other forums. Has this been addressed?

0 upvotes
doto41
By doto41 (Oct 15, 2012)

The links and the photo on my signature don't work any more, one more set of annoying things on the new setup. I'm feeling less and less at home here.

0 upvotes
dark goob
By dark goob (Oct 11, 2012)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Post ranks? Lame, encourages displays of bigotry. User rankings? Lame, encourages forum whores. I don't see any hint you're allowing longer messages or supporting Tapatalk or a custom mobile app or anything else useful.

Craigslist is still my favorite site because it runs lean and mean without all the crappy "web 2.0" frills that always bug out and never behave correctly across all devices. DPreviews old forums were some of the last decent, old school forums, free of stupid ranking systems, post-hiding censorship BS, and all the other nonsense you're adding.

Empowering prejudiced down-voters is no replacement for good community moderators, and just makes them lazy.

The Q&A feature is a rip-off of StackExchange; that's what the photography stackexchange site is for. It has no place being mixed in with your forums.

3 upvotes
harry cannoli
By harry cannoli (Oct 10, 2012)

One more quick thing. Links don't work and images don't appear in my signature.

OK. I'm done.

Thank you,
Rich

0 upvotes
harry cannoli
By harry cannoli (Oct 10, 2012)

A few problems.

I haven't read all 700+ replies so excuse me if I;m repeating something that has already been said.

Voting. Paradise for trolls. Suggestion: Either indetify the person who cast the vote, have thumbs up votes only or eliminate the entire thing.

Embeddding images: In IE9 images I post are always on top, no matter what. Solution: Firefox.

Doublespacing: Whenever I hit <ENTER> I get a doublespace, no matter what.

Embedded image quality: Really, really bad. Especially so for a photography website

Insert image from computer: Locks up IE9. Only way out, three finger salute

WYSIWYG: Consider making the "old way" an option. The WYSIWYG editor is sometimes a bit flaky.

As far as the general look I like it. Thank you all for your efforts.

Regards,
Rich

1 upvote
Marla
By Marla (Oct 10, 2012)

I was away when the changes took place. So I'm just learning how to navigate around the new changes.

I can't upload photos from my Smugmug albums. I've been doing it the same way for years. Now when I attempt to upload a photo, the photo does not show up - just the link to the photo on Smugmug.

What am I doing wrong?

Thanks

0 upvotes
harry cannoli
By harry cannoli (Oct 10, 2012)

Maria,

When you're posting look up at the menu bar (In the editor window). You'll see three square boxes that resemble photos. One of the boxes is "Insert image from web", one is "Insert image from DPR gallery" the final box is "Insert image from computer" (or something like that). Rolling your mouse over these buttons shows what the button does.

To post from smug, Go to smug and get the URL of the image the same way you always did...

Click the "Insert photo from web" (or something like that) button. A dialogue box will open. There's a place in that dialogue box for you to insert the URL of your image.

Once you do that, click to insert the image and you're done.

Sorry, I'm a lousy teacher. It's easier to do than my instructions imply.

Cheers,
Rich

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Hank3152
By Hank3152 (Oct 9, 2012)

What happened to the signature pics? All I see of mine and others are blind links.........

0 upvotes
19andrew47
By 19andrew47 (Oct 9, 2012)

Images I have posted in threads from my gallery of images edited in LR$.2 do not show camera make and model. That information shows in the gallery. Anyone know if this is something I am doing wrong or a fault with the new format?? Tried searching but didn't guess the correct search terms so came up empty.

0 upvotes
harry cannoli
By harry cannoli (Oct 9, 2012)

No matter what I do when I post a pic it always stays on top.
Others are having this problem. Will try firefox and see if tht helps

0 upvotes
KHemmelman
By KHemmelman (Oct 8, 2012)

The color scheme is HORRIBLE and hard on my eyes! The black background everywhere makes the blue, white, yellow text just "blast" into my eyes to the point that I don't stay on the DPReview site nearly as long as I used to.

Also, the center area where the posts are is not wide enough. Post headings are short and getting wrapped. You have plenty of room so widen things out!

0 upvotes
rondom
By rondom (Oct 7, 2012)

Well, hard to go through 691 comments: am I the only one who cannot reply a thread with an iPad?

0 upvotes
peweuk
By peweuk (Oct 7, 2012)

Montygm
The colour changes only refer to 'text' - ie blue on black or yellow on black, and this is changed using the option 'Colour Scheme? Blue/Yellow' at the bottom of posts and forum pages.

0 upvotes
montygm
By montygm (Oct 7, 2012)

Hi there,
I'm not sure if I seem to have overlooked something...but someone in an earlier post mentioned you can change the colour of the pages. I have looked everywhere and cannot seem to come across anything that seems remotely close to being able to do so.
Many thanks,
Grace.

0 upvotes
mikes
By mikes (Oct 7, 2012)

Frustrated.....While posting pictures in this new forum, when you type in the caption field then try to edit what you wrote, it all deletes and you need to start all over again. PLEASE FIX THIS ISSUE!

1 upvote
Nightwings
By Nightwings (Oct 7, 2012)

- DELETED -

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dynho
By Dynho (Oct 6, 2012)

While it is nice to have the choice between the blue and yellow color-scheme it would be great if there would be another - less colorful/saturated - alternative, say white or light-grey.

2 upvotes
mojorisn
By mojorisn (Oct 6, 2012)

Perhaps I missed this. I used to be able to log into my favorite forum, and see just the new messages (since my last visit) at the top. Usually a handful, I could quickly scan to see if I was interested in them. Now, there does not seem to be a way that clearly indicates which are new since my last visit. That, plus the new color and layout, is quite exhausting on the eyes and brain. I must be missing something.
Les

0 upvotes
janlu
By janlu (Oct 5, 2012)

About the THREAD VIEW....
Am i the only one finding disturbing the highlighting of all your messages in a thread.....???
At the forum level (thread list) can be useful .... but if in a thread you have more posts .... it quite disturbing visually and you can't really spot which is the one being displayed as yours own ones are highlighted all in the same way....

I think inside the thread is more comfortable to highlighted the selected one....
Of course if you have only one post in a thread you will not notice it .....

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Hosebag
By Hosebag (Oct 5, 2012)

I TOTALLY dislike the reduced image quality when viewing an image. I will not come here as often now unless they change it back the way it was..
Is there a way to see or not see EXIF when viewing an image? This sucks too.

2 upvotes
Rriley
By Rriley (Oct 5, 2012)

I think it would be better if Titles to threads went fully on the first row no matter how wide the format needs to be

0 upvotes
JJMacks
By JJMacks (Oct 5, 2012)

Garbish

1 upvote
Vlad S
By Vlad S (Oct 4, 2012)

What is the meaning of the full and half full circles at the thread links?

0 upvotes
The_Wicker_Man
By The_Wicker_Man (Oct 4, 2012)

How does one now reply to specific parts of a long post? It was alway useful to be able to insert comments at appropriate points of a discussion - the > preserving the formatting of the previous poster(s)

2 upvotes
Vlad S
By Vlad S (Oct 4, 2012)

Sometimes you can break a quote in parts, but it works inconsistently - sometimes the bottom part remains quoted, and sometimes it doesn't.

0 upvotes
Mark Russell
By Mark Russell (Oct 4, 2012)

I like it, but seems like it should have been made more Tablet friendly sense that is the direction of future computing. i.e. hovering to get a preview is useless on an iPad.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Oct 4, 2012)

I agree. Mobile devices, like the iPad, are the future. That's the direction that we're headed in. If the "new" dpreview forum isn't being designed with tablets in mind, then the dpreview forum designers are being extremely shortsighted. There are two iPads in use in my household. I have a dozen friends who now use iPads too. Sights that aren't iPad friendly just don't get visited as often, or not at all, since we now spend so much time on our iPads.

1 upvote
Eugene CH
By Eugene CH (Oct 4, 2012)

I agree Simon Gallup concerning the "flat view" issue.

1 upvote
Simon Gallup
By Simon Gallup (Oct 4, 2012)

All my recent bookmarks.... gone.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Simon Gallup
By Simon Gallup (Oct 4, 2012)

I use 'flat view'.

When I post, it defaults back to threaded view.

Then when I click 'flat view' I end up on the first page/post.

Hopefully this glitch will be fixed.

I know you guys are striving to make it better (thank you), and getting used to the new layout will happen over time, so I'm not knocking you.
But I can only assume things are still "in progress" ?

By the way, thank you for the option to upload a photo directly to the post.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Jerry R
By Jerry R (Oct 4, 2012)

Why is there no "my threads" button next to "New Thread" and "Ask a Question"

0 upvotes
Louis Dallara
By Louis Dallara (Oct 4, 2012)

I really like the changes, It brought me back to this discussion group, thanks to all that made this possible.

0 upvotes
GMart
By GMart (Oct 4, 2012)

How did the user experience planning / focus groups go in the planning of the new forums?

You know the type - where you get actual feedback on your plans from those you expect to use the end result.

0 upvotes
Danny
By Danny (Oct 4, 2012)

Still no 'Monitor/Display' forum. I'll guess no-one here judge their photo's on a monitor or does post-processing with the help of a display.

0 upvotes
farrukh
By farrukh (Oct 4, 2012)

How do I add an image from flickr?

0 upvotes
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (Oct 5, 2012)

It was answered there :
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50006187

0 upvotes
Alex Zetetic
By Alex Zetetic (Oct 4, 2012)

Congratulations for the new forums!. One useful thing that I think you missed is to show somehow (indentation or a more creative way) the hierarchy of posts in flat view. In my BB I always use flat view for obvious reasons and it's difficult to know who answered whom.

0 upvotes
Glenn Edens
By Glenn Edens (Oct 4, 2012)

Where's the -1 or thumbs down key, it's awful, cluttered, terrible design - a gigantic step in the wrong direction.

1 upvote
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Oct 4, 2012)

OK just had my first look at the new forums and I absolutely hate them, but maybe I'm overlooking a setting that could "fix" my problems?

Your unforgivable sin?

You waste precious vertical space and you don't implement a variable width to take advantage of horizontal space.

Zoomed in to full screen, I can get 1 maybe 2 posts on the screen.

Look at slickdeals.net arstechnica.com anandtech.com and so on. All of them are variable width. Y'all are still stuck in the 90's. Either slim down your use of verticle space per post or allow your forums to stretch out.

Thanks!

0 upvotes
beholder1
By beholder1 (Oct 4, 2012)

Thank you for adding ' Withdraw post' in the options menu! Salutations in store!

1 upvote
sherwoodpete
By sherwoodpete (Oct 4, 2012)

Yes.
Though it seems inactive for me, just a dummy button which does nothing.

0 upvotes
jcochran
By jcochran (Oct 4, 2012)

The changes are great! Thanks for your hard work.

0 upvotes
Zindanfel
By Zindanfel (Oct 4, 2012)

It would be handy to have an opposite of the "ignore" list. I'd like to easily find new posts by members whose comments I think are generally insightful and helpful.

2 upvotes
Polyglot92
By Polyglot92 (Oct 3, 2012)

Thanks for asking for feedback:

- Please get rid of the hard to read turquoise
- Make the thread titles more compact again - too much scrolling required now
- Make replying with a quote more intuitive: My first reply in the new format ended up in the signature which is hidden by default, and I still haven't figured out where to put the reply to a quoted post in this format.

0 upvotes
Stephenbw
By Stephenbw (Oct 4, 2012)

You can change the blue back to yellow yourself.

You can make the thread titles more compact yourself.

I don't know what your third point refers to; all of my replies to posts, quoted or otherwise, have appeared just where I expected them to.

0 upvotes
19andrew47
By 19andrew47 (Oct 3, 2012)

Where does it indicate that the thread has images in it? This my prime reason for openning a thread. Now it appears you have to open each thread to find out if it has images. This is not moving forward!

0 upvotes
19andrew47
By 19andrew47 (Oct 3, 2012)

Top posters in forum not current. Haven't even seen some of these names on the forum in months. What is up? Perhaps this is no longer forum specific? Hate the black background. Can't say this enough. Trying to read text on it is hard on the eyes. Reminds me of 1988 monochrome displays and trying to do word processing on them. On top of that, just plain ugly!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (Oct 3, 2012)

Love the black backround, so give us a choice
This one saves tremendously on battery power
and on my eyes it's easier to use
that's why this is my favourite (phone)camera site
<3

1 upvote
Alex Zetetic
By Alex Zetetic (Oct 4, 2012)

CyberAngel, black doesn't imply less battery consumption in LCD displays, as they are constantly illuminated in the background and the LCD matrix displays black just hiding the backligth. Plasma displays do work the way you say. But as you, I find black backgrounds more comfortable to read, has there's less ligth hitting the eyes.

0 upvotes
Sean Nelson
By Sean Nelson (Oct 4, 2012)

OLED displays also consume less power when displaying black.

But Alex is correct about LCD and LED-backlit displays - they always consume pretty much the same power no matter what's being displayed.

0 upvotes
Edward Sargent
By Edward Sargent (Oct 3, 2012)

It would also be nice to have a view that strips off the advertising so I can browse DPReview without people at work wondering why I'm not working :)

1 upvote
JustFred
By JustFred (Oct 4, 2012)

May I suggest Ad-Block. Works a treat. You need to be using Firefox browser though. I don;t know if Ad-Block works for other browsers. I am using it right now and I do not see even one single advertisement anywhere on this page.

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Edward Sargent
By Edward Sargent (Oct 3, 2012)

I would like to see the ability for the OP to flag portions of threads that they started, as off subject or flaming. Not to delete them just mark them with colors so readers interested in the subject don't waste their time reading through unrelated posts.

0 upvotes
ogremage
By ogremage (Oct 3, 2012)

It would be nice if dpreview galleries didn't recompress the Original-sized JPGs, thus effectively losing quality.

Also, what happened to Detail Man's questions about this here in these very comments? They were here one moment, now they are gone. Deleted? Why?

0 upvotes
Ema2010
By Ema2010 (Oct 3, 2012)

I would suggest less bright font color on the black background. The current font color is too bright which hurts your eyes. If the font is grey color it would be much more comfortable for reading and keep me being on the site longer.

Another thing to suggest is video for introducing a new camera to show the speed of autofocus in low light conditions, and other major features of the camera.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (Oct 3, 2012)

I like it as it is, but give us a few color choises
and a custom palette possibility
Thank you!

0 upvotes
pjcard2002
By pjcard2002 (Oct 3, 2012)

I've always loved your reviews and news articles, they take all the guesswork out of buying - so huge thanks for them, but unless you've found a way to remove all the trolls which lurk here I think I'll stick to other, friendlier, forums. I won't name [forum] names here, because I'd hate for them to become infested.

2 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (Oct 3, 2012)

If enough different people gives [TROLL] remark (or similar)
then you should hold off that person for a while
even facebook has this kind of features

0 upvotes
Corne Ferreira
By Corne Ferreira (Oct 2, 2012)

Ok I I'd not read all of the replies but it looks good thanks for the hard work. I must be one of the few who like the blue on black , less strain on the eyes.

One thing that seems to be missing is spell check, you have an audience from around the world and English is not everyone's strong point, nothing to work my buttons more than a clown that insists on telling me I spelt something wrong, there must be others out there feeling the same.

1 upvote
Edward Sargent
By Edward Sargent (Oct 3, 2012)

You can use the browsers spell check, Chrome and IE have it I'm not sure about the others. But if incorporated not just the GB version.

0 upvotes
Alex Zetetic
By Alex Zetetic (Oct 4, 2012)

+1 spell check

0 upvotes
Trued1
By Trued1 (Oct 2, 2012)

Please take the big step and change to black letter on white background.
I am a Human Factors Professional. I like everything with this site but not the white text on black!

1 upvote
Vlad S
By Vlad S (Oct 3, 2012)

Not sure about this. This is a site oriented to viewing images, and dark background makes them easier to evaluate. Even Flickr switches to black when you enlarge an image.

1 upvote
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (Oct 3, 2012)

Just give us a choice on the BG + Font colors

0 upvotes
Total comments: 698
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