Whatever you do, no shaded background please.
Your views and ideas on forum areas and organization?
Oh, an app, please! Or at least Safari friendly. So I can post on the go.
Oculus aperire - with your expertise and involvement in forums for 25 years, you could be an excellent source of help in forum re-design.
I look forward to more of your suggestions.
No, new site is very minimalist / white, hopefully tablet friendly (it's already better but that is another piece of work to do).
I'm actually not a big fan of 'apps' ... nothing is more annoying than visiting a site and getting a popup to "Download Our App !". No thank you.
I prefer web-browser based but will make sure things like posting are friendly to tablets (probably the focus before phones).
I find this site is already iPad friendly, it's all I ever use for this.
I like the idea of a lounge.
As far as the design, making it friendly for people with vision issues (even just due to age -- for peeps over 40), keeping it relatively simple to use and lots of nice high contrast. High contrast for people with vision problems can be helpful. I had eye surgery about 10 years ago, and have had some contrast issues since, and even though still quite young had to wear reading glasses. High contrast sites help me a lot without struggling.
You are probably totally on top of that though. This current site is simple enough with high contrast. No complaints here.
Starting new Topic Threads
When someone clicks a link to start a new topic a pop-up window or drop-down list opens with all the available topic categories preset and listed. The user is required to choose the appropriate category from the list to proceed and submit his thread. No cat no post. I think this might encourage better organized topic thread/category relevance, automate things a bit, and make it easier for posters to feed into the system.
OH! There is one feature that would be very helpful.
I would like more time to edit a Topic or a post. I often do my writing "on the fly" and post. After reflecting, rethinking, etc. I amend my phrasing or spot a word incorrectly spelled. If time has run out too soon I have to live with it.
At least one hour should be enough.
This may sound weird, but, I would like some kind of rating feature for Topics. Each time somebody reads the OP in a topic they can RATE it (thumbs up or down, or scale from one to ten, or four stars, whatever...)
Some topics may be brilliantly researched and written but not conducive to "reply" or "comment" as such. However, a rating communicates to the author and to others that you've been informed or delighted. Otherwise, a btt is the only way to rescue the topic from circling the drain of oblivion.
Crackpot research and poor writing would achieve a very low rating and the author might soon get the proper notice they had better "shape up"!
Yes, a rating system is definitely on the cards - a way to bring the good stuff to the top helps it to be found and the number of replies isn't a good measure of that. The rating system can then lead into permissions so people's views of posts can cause action (e.g. people with an excellent reputation report a post as breaking the guidelines could automatically remove it). You'll all be moderators, bwa ha haaaa.
The edit limit is really to prevent people playing games - what some do is post insults and then remove them to destroy the evidence or go back and edit their post to avoid a losing argument after someone has replied. But you are correct, it interferes with legitimate editing for typos or adding thoughts to a long post.
I have two solutions that should help with that:
1. I'm thinking of having the ability to post something as a draft (possibly just new topics). This would let you edit until you are happy it's complete and ready to publish.
2. All posts are now version-controlled. Every edit and every change is tracked so it will be possible to let people see the previous versions and what was changed (and that it has been changed). This should hopefully dissuade the game-players and allow the legitimate edits to be done for longer period.
For a management / moderation perspective though there always needs to be some limit - it would be difficult to manage if people could go back and edit month or year old posts and insert unsavoury content (yes, that has happened ... if you can imagine something crazy, someone on the internet will do it).