News articles getting mirrored to forum topics discontinued, now redirects


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Steven P.

Hi all,

 

So the whole mirror the post to the forums thing didn't quite work out for various reasons, with bugs cropping up with every forum update which included dupes, posts getting out of order in the news article (replies becoming a parent comment) and more importantly Google started to penalize us for having two links for the same news item. It wasn't good for discovery, and Google could be artificially lowering our rank as a result. 

 

The good news is that the articles appearing in the minispy and community activity on the main page now redirect to the actual news article itself, so readers will also get a consistent experience again.

 

We tried it, and, well we also listened to feedback and did the right thing.

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Nick H.

Great news, Steve. I just tried clicking on a link in the minispy, and it's cool that I now go to the article rather than the forum entry.

 

It's always worth trying something new, but it's also wise to know when something isn't working out and switch. (Y)

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MS Bob 10

This is a nice change. Me Likey.

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Steven P.

We intend to improve the comment editor a bit more in the near future to include things like being able to add an attachment, so we'll focus on improving that rather than trying to maintain two separate ways to reply to a news article. 

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MikeChipshop

BOO. I almost exclusively used the forum side of things as i just find it much more consistent and a better reading experience. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do though!

 

Edit: Just a side note. You may want to remove the "Forum Post" link in the comment section at the bottom of news items as it now just redirects back to the same page.

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DaveLegg
1 minute ago, MikeChipshop said:

BOO. I almost exclusively used the forum side of things as i just find it much more consistent and a better reading experience. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do though!

Articles are written by the news team with the layout of the front page in mind, so hopefully by now seeing the front page version of the articles, you'll get an improved experience, due to seeing it as the author intended, and with features such as galleries included. Image formatting and embedded videos, amongst others, have always looked better when viewing the actual article, than the forum topic where the forum stylesheet takes over, and formats things differently.

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MikeChipshop
10 minutes ago, DaveLegg said:

Articles are written by the news team with the layout of the front page in mind, so hopefully by now seeing the front page version of the articles, you'll get an improved experience, due to seeing it as the author intended, and with features such as galleries included. Image formatting and embedded videos, amongst others, have always looked better when viewing the actual article, than the forum topic where the forum stylesheet takes over, and formats things differently.

Sorry should have been more clear, yes the articles look much better on their intended pages, but the conversation was a lot easier to follow on the forum pages. What i actually generally did was read the article on the front page, and then jumped to the forum version for the discussion.

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DaveLegg
1 minute ago, MikeChipshop said:

Sorry should have been more clear, yes the articles look much better on their intended pages, but the conversation was a lot easier to follow on the forum pages. What i actually generally did was read the article on the front page, and then jumped to the forum version for the discussion.

Ah, I understand. We've got some further changes coming along which will hopefully improve the commenting experience, so bear with us, and hopefully they'll be to your liking. As always, suggestions always welcome in the Site & Forum Issues forum :)

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Steven P.
1 minute ago, MikeChipshop said:

Sorry should have been more clear, yes the articles look much better on their intended pages, but the conversation was a lot easier to follow on the forum pages. What i actually generally did was read the article on the front page, and then jumped to the forum version for the discussion.

I'm all up for improving the readability in the news articles, but we opted not to go with threaded because it'll just end up being a nested mess. The way it now works, anyone can 'reply' to a comment and it is added underneath, and people can  even reply to replies, where a quote will be added to show who the person is replying to :p

 

I'm not sure tbh how we can improve the chronological order of comments further, but I'm all ears! :)

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MikeChipshop
14 minutes ago, DaveLegg said:

Ah, I understand. We've got some further changes coming along which will hopefully improve the commenting experience, so bear with us, and hopefully they'll be to your liking. As always, suggestions always welcome in the Site & Forum Issues forum :)

 

12 minutes ago, Steven P. said:

I'm all up for improving the readability in the news articles, but we opted not to go with threaded because it'll just end up being a nested mess. The way it now works, anyone can 'reply' to a comment and it is added underneath, and people can  even reply to replies, where a quote will be added to show who the person is replying to :p

 

I'm not sure tbh how we can improve the chronological order of comments further, but I'm all ears! :)

Don't worry, i have faith in you gents ;)

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Studio384

It took way to long, but nice that this is finally done.

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adrynalyne
3 hours ago, Steven P. said:

We intend to improve the comment editor a bit more in the near future to include things like being able to add an attachment, so we'll focus on improving that rather than trying to maintain two separate ways to reply to a news article. 

Or...editing? I'll take editing over attachment support :)

 

3 hours ago, MikeChipshop said:

BOO. I almost exclusively used the forum side of things as i just find it much more consistent and a better reading experience. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do though!

 

Edit: Just a side note. You may want to remove the "Forum Post" link in the comment section at the bottom of news items as it now just redirects back to the same page.

I agree, but the layout transition was garbage most of the time. Especially with images.

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Louisifer
3 hours ago, Steven P. said:

I'm not sure tbh how we can improve the chronological order of comments further, but I'm all ears! :)

One thing I liked about the mirror was the forum kept track of where you read up too, If somehow the front page had a visual indication of which comments are new since last visit, it would help with keeping up with the many threads. :) 

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Brandon H
3 hours ago, Steven P. said:

I'm all up for improving the readability in the news articles, but we opted not to go with threaded because it'll just end up being a nested mess. The way it now works, anyone can 'reply' to a comment and it is added underneath, and people can  even reply to replies, where a quote will be added to show who the person is replying to :p

 

I'm not sure tbh how we can improve the chronological order of comments further, but I'm all ears! :)

a feature I'd like to see added is the ability to minimize comment trees. this is a feature I like on the Disqus comment applet

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SVG

I hope Google increases the page rank soon, are we still on the Microsoft News Twitter list? Haven't seen any posts their recently. 

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DConnell
59 minutes ago, Louisifer said:

One thing I liked about the mirror was the forum kept track of where you read up too, If somehow the front page had a visual indication of which comments are new since last visit, it would help with keeping up with the many threads. :) 

Seconded. I just tried to check a new response to a article, and had to wade through the entire long comment stream to try to find the new comment.

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Draconian Guppy

Ah was wondering why I wasn't linked back to the forum when clicking front page links.

 

But yeah +1 the news articles just don't feel comment friendly. I also agree on I liked the forum "experience", but understand they are two separate things!

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FiB3R

Please don't forget mobile users when adding commenting features to the news section.

 

Now that the forum link is gone, it's going to suck.

 

:)

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Luc2k

Hope there will be a way to identify the new comments since the last visit with a different hue or an icon.

 

At least it takes fewer clicks to remove Front Page News from Unread Content now.

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Danielx64

Also a big BOOOOO from me as well, posting on the forums was so much better when I am on my phone (even though I get double posts at times).

 

What you could have done is hide the forum from guests and bots so you wouldn't get punished by Google.

 

21 hours ago, MikeChipshop said:

BOO. I almost exclusively used the forum side of things as i just find it much more consistent and a better reading experience. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do though!

 

Edit: Just a side note. You may want to remove the "Forum Post" link in the comment section at the bottom of news items as it now just redirects back to the same page.

 

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DaveLegg
1 hour ago, Danielx64 said:

What you could have done is hide the forum from guests and bots so you wouldn't get punished by Google.

That may have fixed the pagerank question, but wouldn't have helped with the other issues that came from having the article and comments mirrored into the forums. As Steve said above, we'll be working to improve the commenting experience for everyone - including mobile users - this is just the first step along that path.

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Danielx64

And now there is another problem - no more email being received when someones replies to an article :( (yes I do use that feature).

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Danielx64
1 hour ago, DaveLegg said:

That may have fixed the pagerank question, but wouldn't have helped with the other issues that came from having the article and comments mirrored into the forums. As Steve said above, we'll be working to improve the commenting experience for everyone - including mobile users - this is just the first step along that path.

Hope you don't mind me asking: do you use the topic/post table for storing the articles and comments? When I built my own custom CMS/blog system I was keeping everything in their own tables but it was creating more issues than it solved so I went to using the forum's topic/post tables and all the issues that I been dealing with went away. http://danielx64.com/?hello-world-1 <- 90% of the data on that page comes from a hidden forum. What I am trying to say that the way that you are trying to do things may not work and if it will it would take a lot of work to pull it off.

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Yogurth
20 hours ago, DConnell said:

Seconded. I just tried to check a new response to a article, and had to wade through the entire long comment stream to try to find the new comment.

Yeah, some sort of visual aide could be added to news section as it was really easier to follow the threads through forum.

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LimeMaster

This change makes sense. I always wondered why they were mirrored after the upgrade. It basically made the news comment system pointless. 

 

That being said, now that it's not mirrored anymore you devs & admins can finally move on to fixing more important bugs like status replies. :p Seriously though, it's broken & is still used very frequently. And If you are not planning on fixing it anytime soon, you should at least disable the ability reply & create new statuses until you plan on doing so. It's driving me nuts.

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