Problems and frustrations with the current forum setup

Hi Anytype team and community members. I find myself frequently frustrated when working with this forum due to a variety of small yet cumulatively significant issues, missing features, etc. I’m sharing a list of these concerns here to hopefully communicate the broad scope of what I personally think needs to actually be improved (at least in an ideal world :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:) and see if others share any of these frustrations. Listed somewhat in order of how much they impact the experience here, in my view (at the bottom are nit picks, I know :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:).

  • Images and videos must be downloaded to be viewed fully, causing needless extra clicks and clutter on my computer just to interact with and understand people’s posts (this discourages me from testing/confirming people’s bug reports for example)
  • Lack of editor preview pane or WYSIWYG
  • Very difficult to tell if I have “thumbs upped” something without clicking on it, which might revoke thumbs-up, then I have to click again (I think the “thumbs upped” state is very slightly lighter gray, but very hard to differentiate without close inspection)
  • Confusing difference between “Like” and “thumbs up/down”
  • Lack of a template feature means bug reports and feature requests are not standardized, and people need to keep reminding others how best to write them (a template would just insert the expected info/formatting to be filled out by the user when posting in a given category/tag)
  • Lack of advanced search functions (this may be resulting in more duplicate posts than might otherwise be the case)
  • Broken notifications function (I have to click twice to view notifications) and notification details are super unclear (hard to tell whether it’s a new post, reply to mine, someone liked my post, etc.)
  • Apparent lack of a “drafts” system
  • Enforced pairing of formatting syntax (personal pet-peeve, I know some people love this)
  • “Infinite scroll” except you need to click “Load more” :roll_eyes:
  • Arguably unnecessary “Tags” link in left menu (the entire organization of the forum is tags and they are fully exposed in the left menu already)
  • Unnecessary “Rankings” link also taking space in the left menu (this and “Tags” link matter a little because they clutter navigation and push down the main nav below it)
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:grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: I think that there is a WYSIWYG editor.


I agree with the other issues though

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Totally agree with this. Main things for me are the templates and the bits to do with liking/thumbs up

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Ah, you’re right (well, more or less; it’s a non-WYSIWYG with a live preview, like Discourse). But it’s fairly poorly implemented, at least in one respect: placement. I often increase the height of my Compose window because, well, I write long messages. :laughing: And that covers up the preview, so I seldom see it (which is apparently why I forgot or didn’t notice it existed). I also often scroll up in a thread to quote or reference earlier discussion, and again that makes the preview inaccessible. Bad design (not Anytype’s fault, but Flarum should really rethink this).

  • Embedding multimedia should be a thing, agreed. I had a lot of problems with this, I even had to upload the video I recorded on Imgur because the one I attached to the post [did not work](Keyboard Won't Appear When Filtering 'Links to/from').
  • I think ‘Like’ should be removed and if a user agrees/disagrees with a feature request, they should upvote/downvote instead. Of course why it is a good/bad idea can be discussed in the thread but a tally is useful when assessing whether the majority of the users want a feature.
  • Templates should be automatically inserted when you select whether you are making a bug report or a feature request. I try to remind people to use the templates when I find their post difficult to follow but I won’t be always be there and you can’t count on any volunteers for that matter.
  • Notifications are really unclear.

notifcations

  • Infinite scroll could be an issue if you have Javascript disabled but if it is implemented with this considered, it could make a pretty handy feature. I hate scrolling down and having to click ‘Load more’ just so that I can see more than 20 posts.
  • The ‘Tags’ link is completely unnecessary. Sure, it look cool, but no one is going to use it when they have the tags listed on the left.
  • Until a good use has been found for rankings, I don’t see any point in showing it to users.

As for the other points, I don’t quite agree with them, though this is mostly due to personal preference. Even then, I’d like to discuss a few of them:

  • I don’t think they should be spending their resources on improving search. It is fine as it is, I’m using it quite often as I try to point out duplicates or possible duplicates and I have been finding all of the threads in my mind easily. I also haven’t seen any platforms where there’s no duplicates, so it’s mostly because of the users. For example, [303](Autocorrect) is almost an exact duplicate of [53](Add spellcheck). I was able to find the latter easily but the OP wouldn’t be able to find it just by searching for “autocorrect”, for which the proper term to use would be “spellcheck”.
  • I sometimes feel like saving my posts as a draft but I am not sure whether it would be that necessary especially considering even on Github, which has a well-established bug reporting section used in many projects, there are no drafts. In addition, at least from what I’ve gathered, people tend to write as concisely as possible, so they probably don’t need any drafts. I am used to saving what I’m writing in a separate document, so I don’t need this feature myself.
1 Like

Agreed. I’m not even sure it can show a cumulative total of “likes”, so upvotes are definitely more useful if that’s the case.

I don’t know if there is a template system for Flarum, but if so, would definitely be nice to have.

Exactly: what are those first two, just new topics, or what?

To be clear I don’t consider it a huge issue and would not suggest that much time be spent to address it. I more meant that if it could be addressed in a simple way, either installing a plugin, or as part of a greater change that would bring a lot of other improvements (e.g. move to Discourse), then it is a potential benefit worth considering.

This is fair, I don’t have a ton of need for it myself, but I have occasionally missed it. Especially when doing a big catch-up on the forum, or wanting to navigate to multiple topics to compose a topic/reply. Again this is something far down the list, that would be worth solving if it came along “for free” with e.g. a change to Discourse. But not worth any big implementation effort, certainly.

Flarum is customizable and has lots of plugins, so many of these issues may be resolvable here. But I have mentioned before to the Anytype team and continue to feel that Discourse is probably the better solution, despite it’s higher hosting resource requirements. Flarum is, in my view, just too piecemeal and immature (even the devs call it a “beta” and despite being in dev as long as Discourse, it’s still not “production ready”). Maintaining all the plugins needed to have a full-featured Flarum forum is IMO an overhead and time investment that the team could do without. Literally all of the above would “just work” out of the box in Discourse…

Nice to see that images and videos now work and play in-line, however images still have no way to enlarge without downloading. Here’s an example where the image appears scaled on my laptop screen and can’t be viewed full-size:

https://community.anytype.io/t/-/1263

Again, this is basic stuff, again it is a Flarum limitation. It “just works” in Discourse…

We will update the forum to stable 1.02

Also we plan to add extentions:

Aand… Make 404 proxy server redirect to /login and add more resources to the server

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@Vova Mm, ok. So you’ve settled on definitely not migrating to Discourse, I guess. Fair enough. I just hope maintaining the forum and the many plugins doesn’t become a problem. Look at how many of your plugin choices are maintained by just 1-2 people who are not part of Flarum team. Meanwhile almost all of this is built-in to Discourse core and is guaranteed to work in future versions. :thinking:

I don’t mean to sound harsh, Flarum is cool for sure, and already implemented here, so in many ways it’s easier to continue. I’m just trying to take the long view here and minimize the need for the team to deal with more maintenance in the future.

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Another problem I ran into today: Search seems to bring up irrelevant results and does not respect common modifiers like “quotes” to mark a phrase (rather than individual worlds in an “AND” relationship). For example I search for “pin code” (in quotes): https://community.anytype.io/?q=%22pin%20code%22

And the second result is this:

https://community.anytype.io/t/-/997

Which literally does not have the word “pin” in it at all, as far as I can see.

This kind of broken functionality severely hampers the ability of even conscientious testers to report or update issues on existing topics, and thus creates needless forum clutter and more work for the Anytype team.

We have updated the forum today:

    1. So it fixed notifications menu
    1. You can now click in media to enlarge it
    1. We have new knowledgebase area https://community.anytype.io/knowledgebase
    1. We have inline templating inside the post if you choose tag Bug or Feature
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Does not seem to work for some/all videos. They still do not play in-line. :neutral_face:

Notifications areas shows unread count but when clicked there is no such thing.

@Srinath Can you, please, provide a video of that? Have you clicked on “check” button on the up-right corner?

@Srinath Look out for some blue-grayed out notifications inside the list, sometimes I get confused too but there actually are notifications ‘unread’. Be aware that to mark as read you have to either click on the notification itself or in the small :heavy_check_mark: at the side.

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@Vova

Although the greyed badge shows 1, I checked if there are any unread but there is none. The count of the notification bell goes away after I click the tick icon.

@Oshyan This is one of my main struggles with this forum as well. It’s quite impossible to figure out whether a bug report or feature request has already been posted before.

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@daanl Yep! We’re working on trying to solve this by moving to Discourse. This depends on how much content can be migrated to Discourse and how quickly/easily. We do not want to add work for the team by making this switch. Hopefully we will find out that the import process works well! Testing will happen soon. :slightly_smiling_face:

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@Oshyan — Since it’s still quite early in the alpha process, you could just leave all the content here and have a fresh start on discourse. You can keep in mind the posts that are already here and perhaps summarize the key points and other migrate to discourse or just create a document which summarizes the key info, etc. I think the priority to initiate a more functional forum supersedes the priority to migrate everything successfully.

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@spirit I appreciate the suggestion, and actually that approach has been brought up as an option internally. We’d still like to avoid it, so we’re going to put a little time into migration testing first. But we have that as a last resort if needed.