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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
23456
mosc
By mosc (Sep 28, 2012)

"Simple answer: 33 million messages in threaded format"

You're not the first forum to deal with this issue. Apply some logic and flatten those threads! You're a decade behind the times and the forums are gruelingly difficult to use because of it. It's not OK, you can't just throw some paint on top of it. The structure itself is what makes finding anything a pain in the ass.

I don't use your forums, guess why?

4 upvotes
ck3
By ck3 (Sep 28, 2012)

"I don't use your forums, guess why?"

You find them too difficult ;-)
I find this comment section a PITA to use but, well, maybe I'm a decade behind.

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Pes Lhipchepiw
By Pes Lhipchepiw (Sep 28, 2012)

Objection. Keep them threaded please. Offer flattened view as an option. Otherwise, why bother with a forum? A mailing list would do fine, putting us TWO decades behind the times, Mr. mosc.

2 upvotes
mosc
By mosc (Sep 28, 2012)

I don't think you're understanding the difference between what DPR forums look like compared to say, any modern format for a forum in existence. You have forums, subforums, AND threads. Posts within the thread are purely sequential. You quote people if you want to reply to something out of order. This was all figured out years ago.

1 upvote
ck3
By ck3 (Sep 28, 2012)

"I don't think you're understanding the difference between what DPR forums look like compared to say, any modern format for a forum in existence."

Well, as to the understanding part - you're wrong. But guess what - I still prefer threaded view (and an option for nested view would be even better) to your so-called modern forums.

1 upvote
Pes Lhipchepiw
By Pes Lhipchepiw (Sep 28, 2012)

@mosc: I build forum software, natch.

0 upvotes
jj74e
By jj74e (Sep 28, 2012)

the ability to "sticky" threads would be useful so people too lazy to use the search function won't post a thread about subject matter that has been discussed in depth many a time before

3 upvotes
Iron Mike
By Iron Mike (Sep 28, 2012)

I think a vote system for deciding the best answer(s) to a question would be more appropriate.
1. The original poster doesn't necessarily know what the best answer is (that's why they are asking the question...)
2. If the OP doesn't return or update the best answer (especially if it takes a while to come) then the feature will be wasted.
3. Often usefully information is spread amongst several posts, so a ranking of the most useful replies may be better

3 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Sep 28, 2012)

You'll still be able to up- and down-vote question answers and the results will be shown in the thread tree at the bottom of threaded view.

We will monitor how the questions are used and look into bubbling up answers agreed upon by the community. One possible option is after a certain amount of time, display the answer with the most upvotes if the user hasn't selected one (or perhaps in addition to the user-selected answer).

We hear you. :)

1 upvote
Bob Radlinski
By Bob Radlinski (Sep 28, 2012)

"The ability to preview a post by hovering over it with your mouse"

This is a great feature - how does it work with a touch sceen?

1 upvote
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Sep 28, 2012)

Short of using a Sony Xperia sola with hover touch capabilities, it's really dependent on your mobile hardware and operating system. For the mobile version of the forums we're working on next, we'll look into offering the same kind of preview ability, but without using hover.

0 upvotes
nand
By nand (Sep 28, 2012)

Voting seems a bad idea. The crowds and loudest screamers are often wrong and may not be qualified to vote. Good examples of this can be found by reading the world news these days.

Rating posters by the number of posts made by these posters invites many more single line “I agree” type posts that lack any useful content.

__You could be wrong by agreeing with me.__

Nand.

5 upvotes
BLUE RIDGE WORKSHOPS EDUCATIONbeb

I don't think working the priority with those that post the most is very short sited. You will more than likely wind up with those that prefer to argue and attempt to belittle others. Whether you know it or not you have a real problem with that ...

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
BLUE RIDGE WORKSHOPS EDUCATIONbeb

I just tried to edit my comment by the way and it went back without corrections.
I wanted to remove the word don't .

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Sep 28, 2012)

We thought about this and the general consensus was that a) it was a feature the community wanted, and b) (unfortunately?) the community ultimately decides how to use the rating feature.

We've thought about things like prominence and hit box size of the voting buttons to make it easier to vote, as well as added keyboard shortcuts.

As for gaming the user ranking system with short, meaningless posts, you'd really have to be dedicated to increase your (purely aesthetic) rank via meaningless short messages. We can look into disregarding posts that exceed a certain downvote threshold.

It's up to the community to downvote "I agree" posts, but oftentimes on other websites, people +1 those posts so they themselves don't need to post yet another "I agree" post.

0 upvotes
Mel Brown
By Mel Brown (Sep 28, 2012)

I wish you would drop the once-trendy format of white-on-black text. It glares and is harder to read than its complement. I will change my mind if you can show me anyone who prints with white ink on black paper...

7 upvotes
viking79
By viking79 (Sep 28, 2012)

I much prefer black background with light colored text. It is easier as the overall brightness level of the screen is less. I think printing white ink on black paper is not practical as it is harder to make black paper than white (bleach), and it is harder to make a white dye that would show on a black paper than a black dye showing on a white paper. Again, a personal preference, and you can always set your browser to invert the colors.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
Marla
By Marla (Sep 28, 2012)

I find the white on black glaring also. However, the blue that is used above is even more glaring.

3 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Sep 28, 2012)

did you miss this http://3.static.img-dpreview.com/files/news/8745432408/connectforums.jpg?v=1600

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Sep 28, 2012)

And this: http://www.dpreview.com/polls

0 upvotes
Mel Brown
By Mel Brown (Sep 28, 2012)

@viking79: I meant my "white ink on black paper..." comment to be tongue-in-cheek and rhetorical. Sorry, I should have added an emoticon to the end. [;-)

I wonder whether the dislike of black-on-white could be caused by too-bright monitors that cause eyestrain. From the factory, most monitors are set to ridiculously high levels. Because I use Photoshop, I set my monitor down to 80cd for better accuracy, and I find that level to be very good for general use as well. Even set that low, however, I find white-on-black offensive to my sensibility.

0 upvotes
LensHood
By LensHood (Sep 28, 2012)

I really really wonder why you sticked to the threated view of a discussion. It is my single most complaint about this wonderful resource. Just show everything in a flat view. Show ALL messages in a thread simultaneously. It is extremely inconvenient to have these multiple threats. And really, ever noticed that no other forum on the planet does this anymore?

10 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Sep 28, 2012)

Simple answer: 33 million messages in threaded format

2 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 28, 2012)

limit to 5 message depth, then post one below one.
ONLY DPR has a problem with that. In nearly entire Internet. No idea why.

2 upvotes
James Sherman
By James Sherman (Sep 28, 2012)

Possibly because lots of us actually LIKE the threaded view. :) Just like having the choice (thank you, DPREVIEW) to retain the original color scheme.

7 upvotes
nelsonal
By nelsonal (Sep 28, 2012)

What I don't understand is why it can't be a threaded view with more than one message showing, in the same way comments are handled (threaded via indents to the message). Keep the old option for the people on slow connections but merge the two for everyone else.

2 upvotes
viking79
By viking79 (Sep 28, 2012)

Ugh, I hate flat view, you have to sort through everyone's response in a thread even if it is in a non-relevant side thread, and there is no way to track individual posts that you have read or not. I much prefer threaded view, and I think DPR has a great implementation that supports both. On my iPhone I use flat as it is easier to navigate.

4 upvotes
LensHood
By LensHood (Sep 28, 2012)

The threaded view has two huge drawbacks:
- when you want to read a discussion, I click flat view, otherwise I only see one post. But then if I answer at the bottom of the screen. All of a sudden I answer in one of the trees. Huh?
- it causes discussions to go astray. Everybody starts their subdiscussion. In a forum where every minute ten to fifty discussions start, having discussions is totally unnecessary. It's not that we are reaching conclusions or agreements on important problems and we need to be able to follow the line of thought. Everybody should stick to the main question of the OP and having a flat discussions actually enforces that more than the threaded view.

The fact that you have 33 million old discussions is no problem. Just make them searchable, but start over. Within 2 months we have enough new searchable discussions. And we can slowly forget about the old forum.

Discussion trees are abandoned everywhere. It's 2012.

3 upvotes
LensHood
By LensHood (Sep 28, 2012)

By the way, do you see how we are having a discussion in an alley, while the actual commenting continues on the highway above us?

You see how pointless sub-threads are? I could be solving Fermat's equations here without anyone noticing.

1 upvote
ck3
By ck3 (Sep 28, 2012)

"All of a sudden I answer in one of the trees. Huh?"

Reading comprehension 101: "reply this message". If you want to reply to the OP reply to the first message.

"it causes discussions to go astray. Everybody starts their subdiscussion. In a forum where every minute ten to fifty discussions start, having discussions is totally unnecessary. "

In threaded view you don't have to read the subdiscussions. It's mostly the flat view folks who complain about discussions. Personally I don't want to start a new thread for each new discussion.

"Discussion trees are abandoned everywhere. It's 2012."

Great point.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 28, 2012)

i think it depends what you use the forum for

as it is now, i can only guess whats in the answer because i just see topics like "re: re: re: re: forum topic" so i read the first two or three answers and search on google for oth forums after that

also i come here to read threads and not to click around

0 upvotes
mosc
By mosc (Sep 28, 2012)

LensHood, great explanation. I hope they read it.

0 upvotes
paulwright
By paulwright (Sep 29, 2012)

The threaded view is the main reason I tire quickly of the DPR forums and spend time elsewhere. I find it irritating and very old school. What a great opportunity to go to something useable like a custom skinned VBulletin format that most of the world understands and likes.

1 upvote
nathanhw
By nathanhw (Oct 1, 2012)

Yep, there is a reason VBulletin style has won out over time. Back in the 90s, it wasn't clear what was going to be the most useful style for forums. A dozen+ years later, after lots of trial and error, we know. And it's not the layout dpreview has used nor is proposing to use.

0 upvotes
JMZ48
By JMZ48 (Sep 28, 2012)

I realize it is tough, but you need strong filter that will limit agressive threads of two different kind:
1./ Competitors (manufacturer's agents) trying to smear other brand product by bringing the same subject to forum over and over again to create "bad name" for particular product. Example: "skin tones" in D7000." - It is OK and expected that subject is brought up to forum... but having the same person creating the same therad under symilar title over and over again is not needed. I think if something is not discussed in full within 150 threads is just not needed here any more. Also, frequently the same aggresive entity post threads under different names just to create and spread "bad opinions" about competitor's product. We don't need that.
2./ Aggressive personal replies/commenting.

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Sep 28, 2012)

We've streamlined the complaint system into a three click process.

1) click Complain 2) select a reason 3) click Submit

Behind the scenes, we've made it much easier for moderators and admins to see see the complaints and hopefully (speaking as a dev) it will be easier for them to deal with the issues you mentioned much easier.

0 upvotes
Mike Sandman
By Mike Sandman (Sep 28, 2012)

Overall, the changes look like they will enhance the value of the forums. Thank you!
The increased spacing, however, will slow down the process of scanning for threads that catch one's eye. Perhaps you ought to reconsider that, at least on the top page.

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Sep 28, 2012)

There are options to read the forum threads page in collapsed / expanded mode, as well as toggling between the old and new color scheme.

0 upvotes
zackiedawg
By zackiedawg (Sep 28, 2012)

If there are going to be buttons for linking images in the posting box, does that mean the image linking will now be in BB code, requiring [ img] code around the URL of the image, or will the traditional method of posting an image (already hosted in an outside gallery) still work just by entering the URL with .jpg on the end?

0 upvotes
Adrian Godong
By Adrian Godong (Sep 28, 2012)

As it is right now, you will have to explicitly insert an image using one of the formatting button. This is the same with URL without .jpg suffix.

I'll take a look on it, but we should be able to automatically format URLs into links/images appropriately.

0 upvotes
jamesfrmphilly
By jamesfrmphilly (Sep 28, 2012)

be nice if DPREVIEW actually got back to doing camera reviews…..D800, 5D III, D600, D6.
to hell with the cosmetics do a review!

0 upvotes
ck3
By ck3 (Sep 28, 2012)

If you are interested in reviews so much, shouldn't you have noticed that the D800 and 5D Mk III have already been reviewed? As to the other two cameras - the D600 review is obviously in progress while the 6D hasn't been made available.

2 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 28, 2012)

How about lenses? They make camera reviews almost all the time (there was even an review during photokina! lol) while lens reviews completly vaporised from the website - Last one was outstanding Zeiss lens reviewed in.... 2010 :O

1 upvote
James Sherman
By James Sherman (Sep 28, 2012)

This I have to agree with. The camera reviews are great, but the lack of lens reviews really causes difficulty for those looking to switch systems or just upgrade.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Sep 28, 2012)

@jamesfrmphilly - I'm constantly amazed that we have to keep on telling people this, but just for the record the people who code our forums (and the rest of the site) aren't the same people that review the cameras.

There is nothing they could do, short of sabotage, that could possibly affect the production of camera reviews.

2 upvotes
OldDigiman
By OldDigiman (Sep 28, 2012)

Give us automatic troll filtering!

1 upvote
AV Janus
By AV Janus (Sep 28, 2012)

Am I reading this wrong or still no: "go to first unread post" link in a thread i posted in?

Hopefully search will be smarter to.

0 upvotes
Adrian Godong
By Adrian Godong (Sep 28, 2012)

We will have that.

3 upvotes
Aleo Veuliah
By Aleo Veuliah (Sep 28, 2012)

Now Dpreview could REVIVE the good LENS Reviews. Don't know why they have stopped doing that.

9 upvotes
Joes Raw Talk
By Joes Raw Talk (Sep 28, 2012)

couldn't agree more. I like these reviews, particularly to compare with others so I can make a better judgement.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Sep 28, 2012)

Lens reviews are coming back soon. We stopped because our studio moved from England to the West Coast of America, which meant lens reviews were put on hold for a period of time, for purely logistical reasons.

4 upvotes
DanCee
By DanCee (Sep 28, 2012)

keep the yellow text over black please.. and keep in between line space tighter.. I agree with the reduce page load

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 28, 2012)

There's a collapsed view and a custard mode:

http://1.static.img-dpreview.com/files/news/8745432408/collapsedY.png?v=1600

0 upvotes
Michael Dbn
By Michael Dbn (Sep 28, 2012)

If you must use blue type on a black background then I suggest that the shade of blue you already have in the column on the far right of your existing page is better than the proposed new colour.

I like the idea of more generous line spacing.

The code showing what posts have been read is a good idea.

0 upvotes
Glenn
By Glenn (Sep 28, 2012)

is there a mobile version of the forums?

Also I've been here from nearly the beginning but my ID was crossed with another user the first time the database got tangled in 1999 or 2000 and my sign up date might be wrong or actually cause the software some problem because of the crossed record if it's soemthing the new system has to look up.

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Adrian Godong
By Adrian Godong (Sep 28, 2012)

Send us a feedback to take a look at it.

0 upvotes
Walt Bilofsky
By Walt Bilofsky (Sep 28, 2012)

I hope the roomier forum layout won't reduce the number of threads on a page. There are so many threads, it's useful to be able to scan a lot of them at once. If you can't stay with one line per thread, then I hope you let the user set the number to be displayed on one page.

1 upvote
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Sep 28, 2012)

Threads list will have expanded / collapsed modes.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Sep 28, 2012)

The other thing you need - desperately in my view - is a bandwidth reduced version. Call it a mobile version if you like. The goal there should be to keep page loads under 100KB, and preferably smaller than that. Current page loads are in the 700KB range, and that's just a pain on a mobile device.

3 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 28, 2012)

Yeah, with a posting limit of 6k in that 700k. That's less than 1% content, more than 99% wrapper.

3 upvotes
yousaf
By yousaf (Sep 28, 2012)

The forums should also be available on Tapatalk.

Alerts,
1.Mentions
2.Quotes

Otherwise these are steps in right direction

1 upvote
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Sep 28, 2012)

I'd certainly love a way to disable the hot keys in my profile or something. I use Firefox's instant search feature and the hot keys make that feature not work. Since I use it everywhere on the web, and it only fails on DPReview, I can never get used to it failing. I've opened posts, new threads and so on entirely by accident because I was trying to search on a page.

1 upvote
AlexBakerPhotoz
By AlexBakerPhotoz (Sep 28, 2012)

That all sounds great. I spend 20 years working on enterprise scale applications and it's really hard work to go from an old legacy system loaded with data to a new up-to-date platform with a host of new features. Most of us here truly enjoy and benefit from the DPReview experience and community and welcome your efforts to improve that experience. Bravo.

2 upvotes
jquagga
By jquagga (Sep 28, 2012)

I think many folks give you guys/gals way too much grief on what you do and I try to be positive. However you did ask for feedback so, I'm sorry in advance!

I think this moves the ball the wrong directly. "Community-based moderation" will be abuse city. Trolling, fanboyism - if you're going to enable this I'd like the option to completely disable it. i.e., I want to view the forums without the moderation at all. I don't care a troll mod'ed something down. I want to see it.

Blue on black is harder to read than yellow on black. At least there is the option to revert. Can we make that part of my default profile so I'm always reverted?

Where's the mobile layout or tapatalk integration? That's one of the major limitations of the current layout.

As others have said, why aren't you moving to something standard? Why not leverage work others have done and implement a modern forum system many already use?

Why not ask for input before pouring months of work in?

2 upvotes
jquagga
By jquagga (Sep 28, 2012)

Also posts more than 1,000 characters when trying to give feedback would be helpful.

The forums right now are gems of knowledge surrounded by what is essentially a bar-room brawl of pointless flaming. Many forums are like that, but user rankings (popularity contests) and community moderation (censoring opinions contrary to your thinking) actually reduce the usability of the forum.

Retaining the color scheme as an option isn't the same as retaining the format of the existing forum.

The spacing is larger, but I think the fonts are still too small.

And that pretty much uses up all my criticism points for the year ...

2 upvotes
SamTruax
By SamTruax (Sep 28, 2012)

The font size should be changed within your browser settings. It isn't something that can be set at their end and affect every different browser that reads it.
Just make the change within your own settings.

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 28, 2012)

Yea, cause we manually are going to change font sizes for every single website that's lame enough to use tiny one. That's not a solution. I can even change website background to white and text to black - sure, but... it still doesn't change the fact that current layout sux in terms of usability. There are few highlights - sure (eg. search being one of them) but most of it is horrible (tree view on forum, welcome back in 1995).

2 upvotes
jquagga
By jquagga (Sep 28, 2012)

Well, except the font size is set by dpreview. The first line of their Common css file sets body to an 11px font. The entire dpreview layout is built around a fixed size. If I over-ride the size setting, their layout starts to break down. Things are in the wrong place; rows don't line up etc.

My humble suggestion is that an 11 point font is too small and the website shouldn't be built around a fixed sized layout. This site is a tiny sliver running down the center of my 1080p monitor. I think it should be percentage based like most modern layouts and thus could scale to whatever sized screen. That's a non-trivial change though and I don't think they'd do that overnight. I understand web re-development is a pain, but hey they asked! :).

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
1 upvote
NewYorkEd
By NewYorkEd (Sep 28, 2012)

For me, the dark blue text with the black background is harder to read than the yellow text. the yellow is brighter. Maybe a brighter blue text would be better.

2 upvotes
Aleo Veuliah
By Aleo Veuliah (Sep 28, 2012)

Good improvements Dpreview Team. I liked most the new post editing.

The other features are also good. And the best answers will be a good help, I hope.

About the user and post rating I don't know if this will work correctly.

Conclusion; Well planned and well done.

Silver Award: 78%

2 upvotes
Joes Raw Talk
By Joes Raw Talk (Sep 28, 2012)

the single most important improvement lies not in the user interface refresh but in moderation of forums.

adding the rating of posts will be misused by some dunderheads that have an axe to grind...that is inevitable. also, Mr/Ms Congeniality contests will ensue as people needing lots of attention will find ways to get themselves heard and be noticed.

as for the look and enhancements, I am sure it will be great.

7 upvotes
Aleo Veuliah
By Aleo Veuliah (Sep 28, 2012)

I agree with that.

1 upvote
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Sep 28, 2012)

The hopes will be that by making it easier to vote (prominent position, large hit boxes), the community will drown out the people with vendettas against other members. This way the community has a say in silencing the vocal minority. As always, we will monitor how it is used and make changes as the community gets used to the new tools.

0 upvotes
offriver
By offriver (Sep 28, 2012)

Will there be a better way to view the forums from my smartphone with these new changes?

2 upvotes
regis3
By regis3 (Sep 28, 2012)

Search, search, and search again...

This DB of forums is an awesome way of getting new info on cameras and such, but the search should be expanded ("advanced search" option ) to get this information:

Date criteria (more than 2 years option) , users, key-words - and OR/AND expressions with these, and (if-possible) google-like search, meaning to give the top results as the most popular/opened ones.

Thank you

4 upvotes
Adrian Godong
By Adrian Godong (Sep 28, 2012)

There is no update on search for forums in this iteration. We are planning to take a look at it to improve the experience after we are finished with this iteration. Thank you for your input.

0 upvotes
hiro_pro
By hiro_pro (Sep 28, 2012)

i love the voting bars. it helps newbies know which answer is more respect by the pro's as apposed to better written.

0 upvotes
tbcass
By tbcass (Sep 28, 2012)

I agree that the voting button is a great idea but what is to prevent unknowledgeable people from voting? There is going to be a lot of fanboy voting as well as those that are knowledgeable.

1 upvote
fuego6
By fuego6 (Sep 28, 2012)

Voting seems a bit unnecessary - it becomes a popularity thing rather than just a forum for reading info... what's the point of it?

6 upvotes
Joes Raw Talk
By Joes Raw Talk (Sep 28, 2012)

who says 'newbies'? so condescending.

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Sep 28, 2012)

There should be no bars to voting. Suffrage for all. Or should people who pass a certified exam get double votes? At least it would prove who is clever enough to review the "cheat sheet." On the other hand, there are some people who, without knowing squat about gadgets, have a knack to take nice pictures.

2 upvotes
James Sherman
By James Sherman (Sep 28, 2012)

The fact is, some people go way out of their way to be confrontational and I'm afraid they won't limit it to their posts but will also abuse the voting system to ding everyone they disagree with (which is most people). Newbies won't have a clue and will be mislead.

1 upvote
Royi Avital
By Royi Avital (Sep 28, 2012)

For me this is the most important thing in my opinion:
"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.".

Thank You for that!

Could you please make the previous platform open source?
It is amazing system many will be happy to have.

Thank You.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Sep 28, 2012)

Yeah...the "new" labels have never, ever worked, so it would be nice if they finally did.

1 upvote
nathanhw
By nathanhw (Oct 1, 2012)

Agreed, this is an awesome improvement, since I access the forums from 4 different places and often give up because I can't get to where I left off, previously.

0 upvotes
Shivaess
By Shivaess (Sep 28, 2012)

I like it overall! Please dont stack the author/title on the top level pages if you can avoid it, it will make the forum topics fit more to a screen and reduce clutter

1 upvote
fuego6
By fuego6 (Sep 28, 2012)

Agree 100% - a rollover would be just as effective or just combine them on a single line - more posts/less space is much better!

3 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Sep 28, 2012)

Collapsed mode gets ride of the second line, though it also gets rid of the author and date posted. If the feedback we get once we launch is to squish the author and date into that single line, we'll look into it, but from our initial experiments it was a bit cluttered.

0 upvotes
MisterBG
By MisterBG (Sep 28, 2012)

As long as they keep the "ignore" button.

5 upvotes
Joes Raw Talk
By Joes Raw Talk (Sep 28, 2012)

they should not only keep it, they should have a separate forum for user ratings the include metrics like:
1. Ignored By 134 users
2. Admired By 3 users
3. Admonishments by DPR moderators: 2 instances

edit: They should add ability to 'follow' other users.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Sep 28, 2012)

If you want to tag those who are ignored, admired, or admonished a lot, why not also tag those who do a lot of ignoring, admiring, or admonishing? Perhaps there's a correlation?

2 upvotes
Joes Raw Talk
By Joes Raw Talk (Sep 28, 2012)

I agree with that. After a bit of reflection, I should have suggested something other that a separate forum. That data could be added elsewhere as an appendage to the forums.

There is so much to like about connecting here with such a diverse group of people interested in photography and its tools. Sadly, the reality is malcontents and people needing to channel some aggression often do it here. I hate the concept of hall monitors, but will gladly accept more of that to the, at times, unrelenting poor behavior of some users.

By Cy Cheze (35 min ago)

If you want to tag those who are ignored, admired, or admonished a lot, why not also tag those who do a lot of ignoring, admiring, or admonishing? Perhaps there's a correlation

0 upvotes
Rod McD
By Rod McD (Sep 28, 2012)

You've a great site. Thanks for the development work. A few thoughts :
a) I like the black background, but agree with calls for the site to allow options.
b) Unless I've missed something in the previews above, I can't see whether you're continuing the symbols that show whether posts have attached photos. For those of us with limited download, it's frustrating when you open a post to find large numbers of attached photos or very big files. I would find it very useful to know how many photos or if the files are large.
c) I don't like the concept of voting buttons for 'like' and 'dislike'. Forums are about discourse. Agreement and disagreement are inevitable and a good thing (as long as it's constructive and not personalised). Merit is not the same as popularity.
d) I'm not sure how you're assessing posters' contributions to rate reputation. Sounds subjective and I'm yet to be convinced......

3 upvotes
hiro_pro
By hiro_pro (Sep 28, 2012)

i've used a number of forums that have voting bars. yes there are occasions where the votes are about popularity. people get over that and start to respond more professionally. it really helps because it gives people a chance who do not have time to respond or dont have anything new to add, a chance to chime in on the discussion. give it time and you will realize how useful the voting can be.

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 28, 2012)

hiro_pro - read my respond down below, starting with "" From DPReview: "reputation scores "".

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Sep 28, 2012)

b) We do still have the image thread icon.

c) The hopes is that the community will be responsible in voting up and down the posts based on merit, and the popularity / personal vendettas will be drowned out by the community. This is what we hope but we will be monitoring this as the release goes out.

d) This is a purely aesthetic for this launch. We're working on an algorithm down the road that will better assess your value to the community (with both positive and negative point values based on your actions).

0 upvotes
Apsphoto
By Apsphoto (Sep 28, 2012)

Increased spacing a really bad idea, more compressed is better for viewing a larger number of topics. User ranking really poor idea, will cause more flame wars and stupidity. The rest of it is ok.

7 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Sep 28, 2012)

Really great features, absolutely an improvements

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Sep 28, 2012)

Looks cool. Except increased spacing just causes increased scrolling, which could be really annoying for more and more people who read the site on small screens, from laptops to tablets to smartphones.

9 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Sep 28, 2012)

I think it will be designed by Skeleton - it's a technique which keeps good viewing independent on screen size and takes screen size into account in relation to functionality

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 28, 2012)

From DPReview: "reputation scores give new users an idea of the kind of person they're talking to, and may encourage better behaviour."

That's the greatest pile of **** since an interview with Nikon PR person.

It'll do nothing else them provoking troll battles. Trolls will post agains trolls - Nikon trolls will up any opinion about non-Nikon brand, and Canon trolls will up any opinion about non-Canon brand.

Eventually it'll end up with everyone afraid posting anything against brands with most trolls as it'll kill their reputation instantly.

IT'S RIDICULOUS!

20 upvotes
Aleo Veuliah
By Aleo Veuliah (Sep 28, 2012)

Good point. And I think you are right.

1 upvote
itchhh
By itchhh (Sep 28, 2012)

I suppose one could create two profiles? One for the good side and one for the bad side of the coin... so to speak.

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 28, 2012)

Or more simply: One to give advices (for positive karma) and one to post opinions (cause got knows what these trolls feed on).

0 upvotes
tinternaut
By tinternaut (Sep 28, 2012)

The changes look great for the desktop site. However, I see there are others here, like me, who are hungry for something a little more mobile centric. Obviously, this is a bit harder for DPR (Tapatalk and Forum Runner are out of the question) but the sooner we get a mobile view, the better.

7 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Sep 28, 2012)

Working on it...

0 upvotes
nathanhw
By nathanhw (Oct 1, 2012)

"working on it" :-)

Glad to hear it! If I rank ordered what I hoped to see in the features list of the new site, this was number one. I'll be eagerly awaiting it. Even just opening up to the Tapatalk API would be excellent.

0 upvotes
u007
By u007 (Sep 28, 2012)

Please just use vbulletin or something standard.

4 upvotes
nathanhw
By nathanhw (Oct 1, 2012)

Not a bad idea at all. That would let the site owners focus on content instead of infrastructure, and let us all benefit from a standard interface and back end system, which works well and is familiar to anyone who has been using multiple community sites during the past decade.

0 upvotes
HSway
By HSway (Sep 28, 2012)

Some nice moves, the site deserves some upgrade too after all. Somehow can’t get to like the post rating and I never really did but have to acknowledge it’s the better face of our immaturity. so off back to the kindergartens where great deal of us belong. suppose I would be now getting some thumbs down;)

Looking like a very nice work.

Hynek

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 28, 2012)

Yep, IMHO this whole thing with thumbs up/down is the greatest crap ever invented on forums. If someone disagrees - post the answer. That's the whole purpose of the """forum""".
But other then thumbs crap - seems like a very nice update!

12 upvotes
Iskender
By Iskender (Sep 28, 2012)

"If someone disagrees - post the answer."

This is how trolls become successful. On the other hand twenty people clicking "dislike" is much less disruptive than twenty people posting angry rants.

In the current system bad posts stick to the top of the forum since people are irritable and every post bumps the thread to the top. A dislike button won't cause this problem.

4 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 28, 2012)

Trolls will post regardless.
That's why they are trolls.
Don't be naive thinking that likes/dislikes will reduce number of troll posts. Quite contrary. They will encourage new type of trolling.

1 upvote
olyflyer
By olyflyer (Sep 28, 2012)

I am happy as long as it is tested and not buggy except for one thing.

The automatic preview of post contents when hovering over. This "feature" is in my opinion a PITA because all it does is slowing down the system and causes a lot of unnecessary flashings. I hope this feature is possible to disable by the user. I don't want to see every message just because I happened to have the mouse cursor over it or because I drag the cursor across the screen. I hate sites with that "feature".

Another thing... Please, don't ever change the background, or if you do you must make it user configurable. I love the black background and hope it will stay like that.

7 upvotes
ogremage
By ogremage (Sep 28, 2012)

I think you should just move to some quality forum software such as vBulletin or IP.Board instead of building your own.

Your expertise is your photography review skills, not Web User Interface design. Focus on your core competencies, leave the forum development to the professionals.

9 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 28, 2012)

" quality forum software such as vBulletin" - hahahahahahaha
good joke man.

7 upvotes
Eric O
By Eric O (Sep 28, 2012)

Yes. Please do not encourage anyone, anywhere to migrate TO any system (e.g. vBulletin) which is built upon php. php is the greatest single security/hacking risk in the entire software world, the most backward and inefficient non-programming-language in widespread use. Its popularity is almost completely disconnected from its actual quality.

3 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 28, 2012)

Cause ASP.NET (which this page is written in) is sooooo much more secure.

2 upvotes
ogremage
By ogremage (Sep 30, 2012)

Yes, PHP is not a good programming language.

That doesn't mean that every website should take a "not invented here" approach to their forums and hand-build their own. That opens even more security (and other) risks.

0 upvotes
gail
By gail (Sep 28, 2012)

Maybe I've missed it but are you going to let people edit their posts more than once? I've participated in many forums though the years, and all have allowed multiple-edits except dpreview.

9 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 28, 2012)

That's paint. What are you doing to address the structure itself?

I don't recall a single post saying "space things out more", but there have been thousands (not exaggerating) about moderation.

The only paint topic that comes up repeatedly is the black background.

8 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (Sep 28, 2012)

Design is not ‘paint.’ It’s a major reason things work or don’t work.

Humans need space. White space makes a page approachable. Active white space may even make it beautiful. White space helps us scan text, increasing our likelihood of reading some of it.

‘White space is the lungs of the layout. It’s not there for aesthetic reasons. It’s there for physical reasons.’ —Derek Birdsall

What’s more, the article says: ‘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.’

1 upvote
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Sep 28, 2012)

We've expanded and made simpler the reporting and moderation process, which should lead to more proactive moderation.

0 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 28, 2012)

I browse more and more on the iPad, and visit sites that are not iPad friendly less and less. At the moment, using DPR on the iPad is a half experience. I can't load photos to my galleries, and more importantly I can't use various widgets, like the test scene comparison.

The iPad is not like a mobile phone, the new one has a higher quality and higher resolution screen than most laptops and a fair number of desktops. It's a great device for enjoying photography and I'd really like if you supported it better.

5 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 28, 2012)

That's the first thing that struck me about the new layout, how unfriendly it is for tablets, with more empty space and a ton of scrolling needed.

5 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 28, 2012)

I hope Fuji stop making your favourite film ;-p

1 upvote
FauxMho
By FauxMho (Sep 28, 2012)

Or better yet - a dedicated app iPad app. I keep about 10000 of my best photos on my iPad, arranged in various albums for quick access and comparison (oh, if only the iPad had Aperture's smart folders and search capability) - it is fast becoming my Photographer's Memory. Imagine a DPR app that could automatically sift thru your on-tablet photo library to pull out your shots taken in similar lighting and/or camera settings as a photo you're viewing on DPR - eg all my EV=4 shots taken on the tele end on my PowerShot G11. A very powerful and personal way to compare the latest and greatest hardware with that you have experience with.

1 upvote
xtoph
By xtoph (Sep 28, 2012)

I absolutely agree that ipad usability should be a high priority. Hovering fxns fail. Currently it is impossible to view expanded dpr gallery pictures on ipad--if they expand wider than the active frame, they just get cut off, and you cannot scroll.

The ipad is our best shot at a viewing standard in todays world, dont waste the opportunity.

2 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 29, 2012)

@xtoph: You can work around that by tapping and holding an image, a pop-up gives the option to "Save Image" and it will be added to your camera roll, where you can view it in the Photo (or other) App.

0 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (Sep 28, 2012)

Disable quoted images! Replace with a link instead.

6 upvotes
Mako2011
By Mako2011 (Sep 28, 2012)

Have to respectfully disagree. I think the person quoting should have the option of showing them if it helps convey intent.

2 upvotes
davidgp
By davidgp (Sep 28, 2012)

Couldn't agree more! What a time saver this would be.

2 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Sep 28, 2012)

I like the addition of up/down votes, but I think you need to make sure you guys can revoke this permission on a user basis, for those that abuse it, and it absolutely will get abused initially.

This means you need to be tracking who clicks the likes/dislikes, which I guess you'll be doing anyway to prevent multiple likes from the same user.

If you keep on top of this, it should lead to improved forum behaviour.

5 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Sep 28, 2012)

Good work, I think we'll have to get used to it a bit before maybe suggesting some other small changes. However, it will always require some human supervision, since there is no automation that can remove trolls and other uncouth characters.
I sincerely hope that the urgently needed Challenge changes are the very next on the priority list...

1 upvote
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Sep 28, 2012)

Well forum's more or less functional. It is the galleries that need improvement. Search by camera&lens model would be awesome. Or fulltext search in the tags, at least.

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
aja2
By aja2 (Sep 28, 2012)

Please keep the 'ignore' feature intact. Since reporting seems to do little, the ignore feature is the 2nd best thing.

I'm not so thrilled about the up & down ratings, but it's a small thing that I doubt I'll use unless trying to send a troll into oblivion.

Giving us a chance to keep the old 'skin' or color scheme would be more than helpful. Gray on black is virtually unreadable because of lack of contrast. I'd rather keep it the same or have black on white.

2 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Sep 28, 2012)

Everyone would profit if the "ignore" feature and up & down ratings had some effect on the membership - also, the Rules Of Behavior should clearly state that trolling may cause the erasement of membership and gallery.
To that effect, multiple accounts should too be explicitly forbidden in such a way that anyone found to have more than one account loses both the original and the subsequent ones, including all images, texts, votes and fora input. DPR states in the Challenge entry form that it is not an image hosting site anyway, so what's the loss? But there is a lot of confusion deriving from the fact that multiple-membership is possible and tolerated.
I suggest, give the multiple-account holders time to remove surplus accounts, say, till the end of the 2012 and not longer (since it was not explicitly forbidden from the start). After the "grace" period, make it illegal, with all the consequences.

4 upvotes
Total comments: 698
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