Follow Feature Feedback

jpishgar

Splendid
Overlord Emeritus
Hey there friends!

A while back, we introduced a new community tool, The Follow Feature, to a select group of Tom's Hardware users and invited them to take a sneak peek at the functionality. We'd like to open the feature up to more feedback now and get a wider range of constructive criticism on the project, to make sure we're giving our community what it wants.

The Follow Feature welcome page can be found here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/follow/

And the timeline portion of the feature can be found here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/follow/timeline/

Your input is highly appreciated. Please note that the timeline part of the feature will be integrated into a new version of the Tom's Hardware forum homepage, and you'll easily be able to keep track of all of your followed tags from one easy to find source.

We'd like to know your thoughts on some of the following:
• Are you already using the Follow feature? If yes, why? If no, why not?
• What do you do with it, or what would you do with it?
• What do you love and hate about it?
• If you aren't using it, what could we improve that would make you consider using it?

Apart from directing the way the community will go with this feature, and because we value your feedback greatly, I'll sweeten the pot a bit by providing a random user who responds to this thread here with their input with a Tom's Goodie Bag (including Tom's hammer, 8 gig flash drive, yo-yo, all sorts of nifty stuffs).

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

-JP
 
Well as you are aware I am a veteran user and the new forum works well enough, some bugs still to get out but that's always the way.
Anyway as far as the follow feature goes, well I know what area's of the forum interest me and can go and look when I want. Why do I want a load of out of date probably already answered and Best Answer selected threads in my notification window ?
Also why would I want to set up a timeline which is nothing more that another user data collection receptacle ?

While I'm sure its great for some to be able to fire up the PC and reel off hundreds of pointless posts a day, that does not float my boat.
Getting credit these days is too easy. Veteran posters like myself are starting to drift off to pastures new as there has been no attempt to keep them engaged or recognized.
We have a wealth of knowledge, however that is no longer evident on the forum thanks to features like this along with the new badge system even users who have only been contributing for a matter of months can have a similar if not superior post and Best Answer count than the one it took me years to build up.

Mac
 

No; I have no need for it. I'm not interested in reading every single thread tagged with a certain category mixed with what I am currently tracking. There are a lot of threads that have misleading tags as well. Like the OP would say "should i go with intel or amd cpu?" and it is marked as "intel" and "amd", it can be misleading as neither one may fit the actual issue of the topic. I guess if I really want to help out, I can add all tags that I'm interested in and start fixing topic tags for any that don't belong and adding ones that do.



I don't understand. I am assuming this is a follow up to the above question and to those who use it?



It's a good idea. Just not very useful at this point because we do have notifications on threads that we reply to and or tracked. That is more useful than the timeline.

Major killer for me is that it can be SUPER slow. Sometimes, it would just sit there loading forever. Or it takes way too long.

It would be nice if the timeline also includes or gives priority to threads that we are currently tracking. So it would be nice to add a blue flag to those and sticky them to the top of the timeline. That way, I can keep an eye on my tracked threads, which has more priority IMO.

Moving the "Find a tag" search box to above the recommended tags would also be good. It's a bit troublesome to add tags. It's not the most intuitive way. And the fact that the recommended tags scrolls down as I scroll down just makes it more annoying when I want to add my own tags and the recommended list just don't cut it.

Similar to the style of the "earned" tag on top of badges, it would be nice to mark tags in those and in different colors. Put them in front of the topic title. I know reading the "Tags:" line is fine, but it's not easy to pick things up. If I have a few tags selected, it's just not as easy to know exactly what I am looking at. I guess that can be very long if someone has a lot of the same tags for the topic selected. Just a thought I guess. Or keep the tag line as is and just put a colored background around it.

An auto-update feature. Once per minute or so. Would help if I want to just monitor the timeline without having to refresh the page.

Why do they all say "in Forum"? It would be nice to list the actual forum name where the thread is created under. And make it a link as well.


That's all I have for now. I'll make a follow up reply if I got something else.
 
I think I found a bug. All solved threads (the ones marked with a Green Solved tag before the thread topic title) show up as duplicates. See image below. I originally found this out using Firefox (w/ various extensions), but I can reproduce the bug in Chrome (no extensions).

 
Oh sorry; I meant Filter By Activity. The dropdown you see displayed in my image. If I check or uncheck any of those boxes, they are not saved per my account. So if I open up Chrome, log in, the dropdown selection are not synchronized. Does this make more sense?
 

Neiromaru

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May 12, 2013
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It's an interesting idea, but I don't think I'll have much/any use for it. Maybe if Tom's starts posting articles a lot more frequently it could be nice. But as it is, checking the home page daily seems to be enough for me to stay up to date, and if I want to see more about a specific topic I prefer seeing things organized into sections like they already are.
 
I personally have no need and use for this feature. Once I read the article I can remember most of it so unless I want to add a link to it in the forums, in which I do a search for it, it is no use to me. Some may have a use for it just not me.

If I find the article interesting enough I comment on it. At this point every time there is an update to it I get notified. The new features of the forums let me know if there is an update to any posts I have responded to, I really like this, But to add this feature for me would be redundant and a waste of time checking.

Good luck with it. Hope my thoughts help although I don't use it or want to use it. :)
 

teh_chem

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Jun 20, 2012
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My thoughts exactly--well put.

And maybe this is a bit off-topic, but as polite as I can be in saying this, the comments portion of the news section is still really bad after the recent site changes--I would emphasize efforts there before worrying about how much people care about the "follow" feature. One of the main reasons I frequent(ed) Tom's was for the tech news posting and the community participation in the discussion. But now with all of the bugs in the comments section, it has made it difficult if not impossible to participate in the news section, which has deterred me significantly from TH in general.
 

usmcgeek

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sotoa

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May 30, 2013
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I've been reading Tom's for years and years. I never saw the need to make comments or follow something.
 

dingo07

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Jan 5, 2012
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I feel similarly to the other posters about the feature - won't use it and no need for it. I wish I could easily de-select which threads I posted on, not to follow anymore. Why can't I find that feature anymore? I remember it used to be available, a little flag at the top of the thread... did it go away because my status changed?
 

house70

Splendid
-I don't use the Follow feature. I have already a hard time using the comments system as it is in it's new format.
-I believe the Notification system is broken, at least for me, because there are no threads that are unanswered or reviewed and yet there seems to be always 1 notification active. Confusing and worthless.
-The comments section is buggy, with frequent double-posts appearing out of nowhere, while other posts do not get uploaded.
-under Tom's Guide area, the comments system appears even buggier, there is at least a couple hundred notifications that appear as active, but no obvious option to mark them all as READ, and the actual box for notifications is empty. The Threads Followed count is always 10, but I don't follow any of them, and clicking the link to take me to them gives a 404 - page not found error. The same other bugs from the Tom's Hardware comments section still apply.
-Also under comments, it appears impossible for one to see and vote on all comments; one needs to open the actual thread to read them all, but there is no voting option available there.
-I suggest that thread moderators start paying more attention to comments related to this type of feedback (functionality, ease of use and access, bugs, etc). You would have had your feedback way sooner than this, and more time to actually implement the changes that everyone seems to be asking for, one way or another. Just because you get one opinion here and another there, in different threads, doesn't mean the problems are isolated, it just means there is no unified process of notifying you about them. Some users get frustrated with the utter lack of functionality of this comments system and may vent a bit, but you need to start trying to fix the bugs that are reported instead of threatening the members and labeling them as trolls for that. Example: just see the first 3 comments under the News Article (the one that sends to this Forum thread).

Thanks.
 

dingo07

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Most of what House70 says (I think) can be fixed if he uses Firefox or Waterfox (which I use) - IE just doesn't work properly to display the new comments (Notifications box)
 

house70

Splendid


Chrome user here. And what do you mean, "Mouse of "?
Notifications worked OK on Tom's Hardware site (not Tom's Guide) until about a week or two ago. Still used same browser back then.
Tom's Guide notification area never worked properly. Always showing 10 followed threads, but clicking on that link takes me to a 404-page not found error.
On TH site there is always a 1 Notification active, but clicking on it (or hovering on it) gives an empty box.
 

whatsntomake

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As a bit of lurker I don't use the follow feature.
It reminds me too heavily of a mobile/tablet style centered approach (like the windows 8 layout). While the layout is nice and clean, there's alot of wasted space and not enough information density. It's simply easier just to browse the forums than use the follow feature. I do appreciate the effort to consolidate information - that's always very hard to do on a BBS. This kind of at-a-glance approach is great on the go and especially on mobile devices but using this on a desktop with a larger monitor is kind of silly.
Like Windows 8, this needs to be redesigned with a desktop user in mind.
 

Havre Resorts

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May 29, 2013
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We'd like to know your thoughts on some of the following:
• Are you already using the Follow feature? If yes, why? If no, why not?

Now i am, and i hope this keeps me up to date on future purchase decisions.

• What do you do with it, or what would you do with it?

I want to know whats out there. What's a good buy for my family and our connected friends.

• What do you love and hate about it?

You had to click follow, over and over, to click more subjects to uh follow.

Love that is available.

• If you aren't using it, what could we improve that would make you consider using it?

You need to make me believe that this is worth my time. So everyone deserves a shot. Let's see what you got.
 

lunyone

Splendid
Moderator


As a veteran member also, this statement above pretty much sums up my feelings.

* I feel that the badging system is too easy to get now and there are a lot of quick and short responses that get credit for the solution, when others have invested quite a bit of time on a thread. I'm not saying that this is always right, but those that put in a fair amount of time (usually veteran members) and actually steer the thread in the right direction (i.e. Rate my build, and they don't even state what parts they have or what the build is for).
* The notifications portion is pretty good except that I always seem to have 1 thread that isn't answered, but I can't see any that I haven't answered. This is annoying, but doesn't stop me from checking in on my threads that I'm working on.
* I also don't like the "New" comments section, especially on articles. Look at "The Best GPU's for the money, or Best Gaming CPU's for the money, etc.". When I go to read the latest comments I find that the comments made 6-9 months ago are listed and I find that I have to constantly click "Load more comments", just to scroll down the list or I have to do a comment and finally see the latest comments.
* Also in the past I was able to click on my unread thread and when I clicked on it, it would scroll me down to the latest comment. This allowed me to not have to scroll down to the bottom of the thread and/or have to scroll down to the bottom and then click on page 2,3, or how many pages there are.

I will say that the thread section is pretty good at taking PCPartPicker links and all (not all forums have good support for this), so that is one thing that I do like and this hasn't changed much over the years.

Sorry for such a long rant, but this has been bugging me for quite some time and now I have a few minutes to type it all out.

In summation, I don't need another tool to manage my threads, just fix the issues I've listed above and I'll be a happier veteran poster.
 

Flightsimluke

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Just a little point. I like it in a way because I can use the tags I follow to use the knowledge I have of certain aspects of computing to effectively help people in the forum efficiently. However, I do not go solely on it. I like to use threads asking on a subject I don't know about to expand my own knowledge. For example, a few weeks ago I still didn't know much about custom watercooling loops at all. One thread asking for a sub $400 watercooling loop, and I spent about 4 hours researching so I could answer questions like it in the future. I have no problems with it in its current state.

Best Regards
Luke
 

ethan1701

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Apr 30, 2013
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I do not find the new Follow feature effective for anything. I have taken a look at it but never used it again after that. I prefer just visiting the category in the forums i am interested in looking at. I hate it just because it seems pointless. I am not sure how you could improve it so I would look forward to using it.

I would really like to see the ability to follow forum posts i have posted or replied to with the Tom's Hardware android app. Sometimes it is a pain to have to get on the computer to see the updates to these posts. That would be a great feature I would love.
 


First post ? sounds like a plant to me ?

Mactronix :)
 

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